Mayor Eric Adams pledged Wednesday to redesign 1,000 intersections across the city, making them safer for pedestrians — and to use the NYPD to crack down on drivers that fail to stop at red lights, and stop signs, as well as ticket drivers and cyclists who fail to yield to pedestrians, whether they're using a crosswalk or at an intersection that has no requirement to stop.
The Adams administration’s focus on safety at intersections comes days after a 15-year old girl was struck and killed by a school bus driver while she had the green light and was crossing an intersection. The driver was arrested and charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to use due care. The city notes that half of the traffic fatalities in the five boroughs take place at intersections.
Last year, New York City had the highest number of traffic fatalities since 2013, when 279 people were killed by vehicles.
“No matter how much we lean into Vision Zero, that vision was clouded by the number of deaths we witnessed in our city,” Adams said Wednesday in Brooklyn, joined by Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, and safe streets advocates. They stood at the intersection of Caton Avenue and Coney Island Avenue, with the mayor pointing out that 26 people have been injured there in traffic incidents, while there have been five deaths along Coney Island Avenue.
Adams plans to go to the Vision Zero toolkit by installing 100 raised pedestrian crossings that make crossings more visible and slow drivers down. He also wants to put 100 bike corrals at intersections and remove parking places where large vehicles can make it difficult for pedestrians to see oncoming traffic and for vehicles to see pedestrian crossings. The goal of improving 1,000 intersections is for 2022, according to a DOT spokesperson.
The mayor, a former transit cop and then police captain, also plans to deploy the NYPD to increase enforcement of drivers and cyclists who fail to yield to pedestrians.
While he said he wants to “double down on enforcement,” it’s unclear if Adams means to double the number of officers assigned to watch traffic, or double the number of tickets being issued for violating the law. The NYPD and the Department of Transportation didn’t respond to requests for clarification.
“As we take a new approach to Vision Zero, we know intersections are where pedestrians and cyclists face the greatest dangers — and so we can and will make hundreds of crosswalks safer with a range of treatments, both new ones and more of those that we know work,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “We will not be complacent or accept any life lost on our streets.”
Former Mayor Bill de Blasio, who vowed to reduce traffic deaths, completed 811 street design changes during his eight years as mayor.
“Investment in safe street design is how we will achieve Vision Zero,” Danny Harris, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, wrote in a statement. “The concrete solutions announced today will better prevent drivers from speeding and protect our most vulnerable road users, like seniors, children, and everyone who bikes.”
This article has been updated to reflect that the 1,000 intersection improvements would be for 2022.