Mayor de Blasio announced his "Great Streets" initiative program at a City Council transportation committee budget hearing on Thursday, March 5. As part of the "Vision Zero" project, the program will spend $250 million on making some of the city's most dangerous streets safer for pedestrian traffic. Improvements will be made to the Grand Concourse, Atlantic Avenue, Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn, and Queens Boulevard. Between 2009 and 2013, there were 34 fatalities and 215 serious injuries as a result of the dangerous conditions found on these four roadways. The De Blasio administration believes that increasing space for pedestrian traffic and cyclists will reduce such tragedies in the future.
The New York State Department of Financial Services has just approved a voluntary program through the insurance company Esurance that allows parents to block certain types of cellphone use when a car is in motion. The program, called “DriveSafe,” gives policyholders of the Allstate subsidiary to install a free device on the cars their teen drivers use. When a corresponding app is installed on the teen’s phone, the device communicates with the phone, blocking its use for certain purposes. It can also monitor teens’ driving behavior.
An analysis of U.S. traffic fatalities reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that was just published by researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center revealed an alarming trend. While traffic fatalities overall have generally declined, fatal accidents involving both bicyclists and pedestrians are actually on the increase.
An editorial called “Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists?” by a biking enthusiast and contributing editor for the lifestyle and fitness magazine Men’s Journal was recently published in the New York Times. Considering that the competition between bicyclists and motorists for road space, it’s no surprise the article struck a nerve with people on all sides of the debate.
In 2012, New York found itself at the top of an unfortunate list: it was named the No. 1 city in the nation for fatal pedestrian and bike accidents. Fully 27 percent of people killed on New York roads were pedestrians or bikers, and New York State Department of Transportation data shows that nearly eight walkers or bikers are struck by vehicles each and every day in our state.
The question of whether to an aging loved one or family member with a serious medical condition is still able to drive safely can be a gnawing one. Even here in the Northeast, driving is indispensible in most people’s daily lives, and it often represents a sense of self-sufficiency that’s hard to give up. Yet it’s rarely obvious that someone’s driving ability has deteriorated to a dangerous degree, and it’s awkward even to discuss the subject.