NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Bill de Blasio is defending his police commissioner’s comments regarding the mayor’s plan to eliminate traffic-related deaths in New York City.
The mayor’s “Vision Zero” initiative aims to reduce traffic injuries and deaths by cracking down on careless drivers and redesigning dangerous intersections, among other initiatives, which also included reducing the speed limit citywide.
The ultimate goal is to have zero pedestrian fatalities by 2024.
But on Thursday, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton declared, “You’re not going to get to zero.”
“The reality of it is much like the reality of crime. As long as we have humans who are walking and riding, bicycles and cars—as long as we have people, we will have crime,” he added.
De Blasio rushed to defend Bratton, saying the commissioner has been in the vanguard, doubling enforcement on speeding and tripling enforcement on failure to yield, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.
“We say Vision Zero because it’s our goal, and we are audacious in trying to reach that very goal,” de Blasio said. “We know there’s human factors, we know how hard it is, but it’s the right goal because each and every one of these crashes is preventable.”
The mayor added that before becoming police commissioner, Bratton said he saw “Vision Zero” as a core mission of the NYPD, and both men are “unified on that fact.”
Earlier this year, de Blasio announced 2015 was the safest year ever on city streets since recordkeeping began in 1910. Officials said there were 231 traffic fatalities in 2015, 66 lower than the 297 fatalities that occurred in 2013, the year before “Vision Zero” began.
Pedestrian deaths also fell 27 percent during that period to a historic low of 134 in 2015. The previous lows were 2011 with 249 traffic fatalities and 2014 with 139 pedestrian fatalities.
For 2016, the mayor unveiled $115 million in new capital investment for plans to calm traffic and expand efforts to crack down on dangerous driving, make hazardous left-turns safer and expand enforcement.