Traffic crashes have killed 59 people in the first quarter of this year — a 44 percent spike over the same period in 2021, according to a new report by the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.

That makes it the deadliest start to any year since former Mayor Bill de Blasio launched Vision Zero in 2014, with the explicit goal of eliminating traffic deaths and injuries in New York City.

“Vision Zero can’t just be a slogan,” Cory Epstein, a spokesperson for Transportation Alternatives said. “It really needs to be street engineering because we know that when you design and engineer streets for safety, you prevent speeding, you make it safer to cross the street.”

Among other stats, the report found that Queens and Manhattan experienced the biggest increases in traffic fatalities, with Queens seeing a 125 percent increase compared to this time last year, and Manhattan seeing a 120 percent increase. It also pointed out that pedestrians make up nearly half of all fatalities – of the 50 deaths so far, 29 were pedestrians. Others included cyclists, drivers and people on other motorized vehicles.

Transportation Alternatives goes on to make a series of recommendations for Mayor Eric Adams, the City Council, and leaders in Albany to mitigate the issue — the first demand being to fully fund and expand the NYC Streets Plan.

Earlier this month, the Council called on the mayor to invest $3.1 billion into building more bike lanes and bus lanes as a part of an effort to make streets safer. The request was made in response to the mayor’s own preliminary budget and would significantly expand the city’s current street redesign goals. Advocates are hoping to see that funding included in the mayor’s final budget.

“The safety of New Yorkers is our number one priority. We are proud of the work we have done to curb traffic deaths and we understand there is still much more to do,” said city Department of Transportation spokesperson Vin Barone in a statement responding to the report. “The agency is working around the clock to increase the number of safety measures and eliminate traffic deaths in New York City.”