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De Blasio Unveils Details Of ‘Vision Zero’ Plan To Reduce NYC Traffic Fatalities

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio has unveiled more details to his plan to eliminate deadly traffic accidents in New York City, especially those involving pedestrians.

Since announcing his “Vision Zero” initiative last month, de Blasio said an interagency task force has worked to develop new strategies to make streets safer.

As CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported, de Blasio announced the 62-point plan on a block where a 9-year-old boy was killed by a cab last month.

“There’s nothing that can even be painful to me anymore because I lost my son and I want my son back and I miss him,” Dena Lerner, of the Upper West Side, said Tuesday.

Lerner’s son, Cooper Stock, was mowed down and killed by a cab at the intersection of West End Avenue and 97th Street last month as the boy’s father held his hand.

“Being struck by a car is the leading cause of injury-related death for children younger than 15,” the mayor said.

Cooper was one of seven pedestrians killed in the first two weeks of 2014.

“Anyone who knows this town knows there’s a speeding problem, and we have to address it,” de Blasio said. “And it’s obviously directly linked to the number of fatalities. We want everyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle to think carefully about the situation they’re in in the densest city in the nation. We want pedestrians to think carefully. This is very much about raising consciousness and changing behaviors.”

There were 286 traffic fatalities in the five boroughs in 2013, de Blasio said.

“We refuse to accept the loss of children, parents and neighbors as inevitable,” the mayor said in a statement. “We are focusing the full weight of city government to prevent fatalities on our streets.”

The new 62-point strategy includes:

  • Increasing enforcement against speeding
  • Developing borough-specific street safety plans
  • Redesigning 50 intersections and corridors each year to improve safety
  • Reducing the citywide speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph
  • Expanding the use of speed and red light enforcement cameras
  • Expanding neighborhood “slow zones”
  • Putting stiffer penalties on taxi and livery drivers who drive dangerously.

De Blasio said reducing the speed will make a major difference.

“The likelihood of a fatal crash drops significantly for speeds below 30 miles per hour,” the mayor said. “When you get those speeds down, it will be the difference between losing a life and saving a life.”

Action taken in recent months against jaywalking at certain intersections is not part of the plan, and will be handled at a precinct or even officer level, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

Lerner said she’s grateful for the proposal.

“It’s sad for me because we didn’t get to be with him for more than nine years, but if he helps save other people, that will be something that will help us through the rest of our lives, and it will make us feel proud,” Lerner said.

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, taxi drivers took exception to being targeted by some of the suggestions. De Blasio’s plan to make streets safer includes a special fleet of taxi speed police, black boxes in yellow cabs and possibly a system that would shut off the meter if the cab speeds.

“It just does not make sense at all to add the pressure on the driver who already has no guaranteed income,” Mohammad Akhtar of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance said of the meter proposal.

De Blasio said the city will have to work with state officials to implement parts of the plan, including reducing the citywide speed limit and expanding the use of traffic cameras.

The city must receive approval from the state Legislature to install as many cameras as it deems necessary. The state currently has limits set for traffic cameras.

To see the full plan and for more information, click here.

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