In his latest Vision Zero push, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a series of road safety and traffic improvement projects set to take place place throughout the city—all part of a $1.6 billion initiative to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities.
This particular set of Vision Zero projects involves wider sidewalks, new crosswalks, new protected bike lanes, and pedestrian refugee medians.
“Dangerous streets have to change,” de Blasio said in a statement. “We want to get the word out: we’re moving lanes, adding new space for pedestrians and making it safer to cross intersections—all to keep your family safe. These changes have helped make each of the last three years under Vision Zero safer than the last.”
On top of that list is work on the Tillary Street entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge, which will see the widening of the pedestrian-bike entrance to the bridge, improved crosswalks, and 50 new trees.
Here now is a selection of projects the city is carrying out across all five boroughs. To checkout the full list, head on over to the Mayor’s Office’s website for all the details.
- Fifth Avenue, between West 23rd Street and Washington Square Park will get protected bike lanes this spring.
- In anticipation of the L train shutdown, the city will improve bike and pedestrian access to the Williamsburg Bridge at South 4th Street, Borinquen Place, and South 5th Street. Work on this project is supposed to wrap sometime this summer.
- Select Bus Service will be added to the Q52 and Q53 routes that run along the Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards, passing through multiple neighborhoods in Queens. There are also plans for pedestrian safety improvements along this stretch, all of which is on schedule to wrap sometime this spring.
- The Madison Avenue Bridge, connecting Mott Haven to Harlem, will get improved bike and pedestrian access including signalized crossings, and protected bike lanes. Work on this project is set to wrap sometime this summer.
- Traffic circles (the city’s first) will be added along Greeley Avenue in Midland Park to reduce speeding in residential areas. This is expected to be complete by spring.
Since de Blasio implemented Vision Zero in 2014, the city has seen a decline in traffic fatalities for three successive years, the Mayor’s Office revealed in January this year. Traffic fatalities were down to 230 last year—the lowest in the city’s history, and a 23 percent decline from 2013 (before de Blasio assumed office).
Under the de Blasio administration, the city’s bike lanes have also improved significantly.
The progress made on this front may however be upended, the Mayor’s Office says, by the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts to the Department of Transportation. This could impact projects like the improvements being carried out at the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge.
The current crop of projects however will move forward as planned for now and transportation advocacy groups have praised the effort.
“After making a significant budgetary commitment to transform New York City's most dangerous corridors with redesigns to protect all street users, Mayor de Blasio is seizing the initiative by launching reconstruction projects as we emerge from winter," Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said in a statement. "With an expected decline in support from Washington, the Mayor's momentum and leadership on Vision Zero will be more critical than ever in the effort to keep driving traffic deaths down across the five boroughs."