176 cyclists or pedestrians were killed in crashes between June 2011 and June 2012, up from 158 the previous year, according to the Mayor’s Management Report. The disturbing uptick marks a departure from previous years in which traffic fatalities have trended downward—a trend the DOT has attributed to its forward-thinking initiatives such as pedestrian plazas and bike lanes. This new stat is a troubling one for obvious reasons, including the ammunition it gives to critics of "complete street" initiatives.

DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan's dramatic changes to the city's streetscape have been criticized by car-centric tabloid columnists and political opponents of Mayor Bloomberg. But DOT has been able to hit back with statistics showing that the changes have made everyone safer. Anything suggesting otherwise makes it more likely the next administration will consider reversing the DOT's work, erasing more bike lanes and pedestrian plazas.

Already, Councilman James Vacca, the chairman of the City Council’s transportation committee, is telling the Times, "Certainly if we get this result next year, I think we have to look at many of the reconfigurations to see if they’ve been positive. We’ve been led to believe that things in the last several years were getting much better."

The Times reports that the DOT typically compiles figures for the calendar year, so Sadik-Khan says she wants “to reconcile what’s going on.” However, she did admit that "it does look like there’s a rise" in traffic fatalities. According to the Times, the report also finds that "speeding, driving while intoxicated, and running red lights or stop signs accounted for a combined 54 percent of motorist or passenger fatalities."

The DOT has recently introduced public awareness campaigns to remind pedestrians to pay attention when stepping into the street, and cab passengers to check for cyclists before opening their doors. To be sure, such initiatives are important, but what's glaringly obvious is that the NYPD isn't doing enough to enforce traffic laws or investigate "accidents" after they happen. According to the Mayor's report, the number of moving violation summonses fell by nearly 15 percent from July 2011 through June 2012.

At a press conference last week, we asked Sadik-Khan if her department was working with the NYPD to improve enforcement and Accident Investigation Squad, and she told us, "We are working very closely with NYPD, and Commissioner Kelly in particular, on the accident investigations that take place in the city of New York and we are working on some campaigns on that regard as well." But she declined to get into specifics.

The NYPD has no comment on the matter, but Paul Steely White, Executive Director at Transportation Alternatives, tells the Times that the police "are not doing their job. Anyone who walks or bikes across a New York City street knows that motorists are getting away with reckless driving, day in, day out."