Volume 81, Number 2 | June 9 - 15, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

T.A. drives toward goal of zero traffic deaths

By Albert Amateau

Transportation Alternatives held a news conference on Wednesday at the corner of Delancey and Essex Sts., which the group declared the most dangerous intersection on the East Side.

“There were 119 motor vehicle crashes with pedestrians and bicycles at this corner between 1998 and 2008,” said Michael Murphy, a staff member of T.A., a civic group advocating for safer streets.

The organization and the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy issued a report, “Vision Zero: How Safer Streets in New York City Can Save Over 100 Lives a Year.”

The report found that one New Yorker is killed every 35 hours in a traffic crash and that more New Yorkers have been killed by traffic than have been murdered by guns over the past 10 years.

“‘Vision Zero’ means zero traffic deaths,” said Paul Steely White, T.A. executive director, who acknowledged the Bloomberg administration’s goal to halve traffic fatalities by 2030.

“That’s not acceptable,” White said. “We must reduce them to zero. Traffic violence still claims the lives of hundreds of New Yorkers every year and seriously injures thousands more,” he said, adding, “It’s time to change the culture of acceptance that acts like traffic is as uncontrollable as the weather — and get serious about saving lives.”

Mary Beth Kelly, whose husband, Carl, was killed by a tow truck on June 25 five years ago, recalled that 300 people were killed in traffic in the city the year her husband was killed and more than 7,000 were seriously injured.

“No one should have to endure the pain of losing a loved one to out-of-control traffic,” she said.

The report found that traffic-calming measures, like bicycle lanes, wider sidewalks and pedestrian islands, have proven to save lives in cities like Paris that implemented them.

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