Vision Tunnel: The Persistent Failing Of Commuter Safety.

http://i0.wp.com/www.thelodownny.com/leslog/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/vision-zero-1.jpg?resize=750%2C569That guy on the left is either ashamed of the dubious success of Vision Zero or is a new sports mascot.

NY Daily News: Transportation department boasts record low traffic fatalities amid bump in pedestrian, cyclist deaths for 2016

The Department of Transportation on Wednesday touted a record low for overall traffic deaths last year, amid an uptick in pedestrian and cyclist fatalities.

Still, in the race to zero street deaths, 141 pedestrians and 18 cyclists died in 2016, up from 139 pedestrian and 14 cyclist fatalities in 2015.

The new year is also off to a grim start, with 10 11 people dying in traffic crashes — including seven pedestrians and a cyclist. By comparison, there were five traffic fatalities in the first 10 days of 2016.Since it’s start, the Vision Zero program has seen almost mixed success and failure in preventing injury and fatalities. But overlooked since it’s implementation is the societal and behavioral impacts, the shoddy unrealistic redesigning of the streets and an utter lack of enforcement, with the exception of the usual arbitrary quota traps. And now, in what can be like the chickens coming home to roost for traffic programs, there has been an alarming rise in vehicular manslaughter in the last few weeks.

All this hostile and callous behavior is pervasive despite that more bike lanes and pedestrian plazas have been painted and constructed to apparently no avail, except as a marketing ploy for higher rates in the new towers and renovated old apt. buildings in the trendy hot areas of Brooklyn/Queens. As these lanes have caused the streets to be less ample and has produced more gridlock. Although it provides a commuting alternative for more enlightened, hip or athletic types or for those who need to save 27.50 a week, it has robbed a lot of parking spaces for car owners and commercial deliveries. Most notably on Queens Blvd. which was tyrannically decided by the mayor despite the objections of the residents and even the community board.

The seething reaction to this was clearly in the air when I saw this riding up the newly painted lane last spring:

bike-lane-rat-002

Despite the installation of wider sidewalks and pedestrian plazas, people are jaywalking more than ever, none worse than midtown Manhattan, as the areas are so crowded during the rush hours in the morning and evening people are walking in the streets, literally taking up 2 lanes of traffic. Compounding this problem is the defiant stupidity of being distracted by their phones.

Despite the lowering of the speed limit, there has been a dramatic rise in reckless driving and  hit-and-runs. The running of stop signs has become the norm in residential areas. Areas with perennial traffic problems at major intersections in all the boroughs have got seemingly worse. Exacerbated mostly by the president-elect’s demented intent to use his midtown lair during the transition of power, keeping his wife and kid there for the rest of the school year and possibly to still use it during his term, and the ludicrous Bruce Ratner/ Chinese oligarch funded metropolis being built in downtown Brooklyn.

But all is sunny in the Blaz’s New York as his press release states:

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that under the Vision Zero plan, New York City had its safest-ever year in 2016 with the fewest traffic fatalities ever recorded: 229, improving on the record of 234 set in 2015. Traffic fatalities have declined for three consecutive years, and are down 23 percentage overall since before Vision Zero began. With national trends showing traffic fatalities increasing over the last two years, the Mayor noted several other positive trends in 2016, including the success of street redesigns and a record-low number of fatalities among school-age children.

Mayor Big Slow thinks 5 less deaths is an improvement and then takes statistical liberties with the fact that fatalities went down 23% since the program began, which shows that deaths have been going down in slight increments, like the tally of the last year, which is nothing much to brag about, which only went down 2%. Although as much as I want to believe in our elected officials, even someone as immoral with no credibility on anything like the Blaz, there is something a tad bogus about these stats from their PDF. It doesn’t reveal the sources. Not the DMV, not the NYPD. This piqued my curiosity and also my constant skepticism of anything that comes from City Hall. So I went on an excursion, by using a very popular and lucrative search engine, to find out what were the NYC fatality stats from 2013 and I found something of interest.

Streetsblog: NYPD: 16,059 Pedestrians and Cyclists Injured, 178 Killed in Traffic in 2013

https://i2.wp.com/www.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/2013crashes.jpg?w&crop=0%2C0px%2C100%2Cpx

178. Which if is this actually correct, because the link to the files for these tabulations is eerily not available so it’s hard to tell if it was updated or underestimated by the NYPD, that would mean that since the start of Vision Zero in 2014, deaths went up 22%. It’s hard to tell where they got 299, which would mean 121 of the fatalities were passengers and drivers. Something stinks from the (giant dope) head about this.

One thing the PDF touts that our mayor and his crack p.r. farm team modestly didn’t is the meteoric rise in summonses. The amount of tickets being distributed clearly has not deterred scofflaw driving habits. Most intriguing is the amount of automated ticketing for speeding has went up 66 % in 2 years, while it has no record of the amount before Vision Zero started.

This is not lost on the citizenry, most of all to the sister of Hermanda Booker, 29, Rhondelle, of the latest casualty of a reckless selfish shithead:

Rhondelle believes that the city, rather than overinvesting in red light and speed enforcement cameras, should install surveillance cameras near dangerous intersections like the one where her sister was killed. “I feel that the city is more interested in generating money than protecting pedestrians,” she said.

NY Daily News

It might be an easy bet that it’s the former. Especially with the amount of spending going on for superficial infrastructure improvements for transients and tourists, extra lucre for the developers while 421a gets restructured for their benefit, police OT for surveillance of protests by Trump Tower (this will not stop), and staff for the mayor’s re-election campaign. Everyone else just better be aware of their surroundings to the point of extreme paranoia for the time being.

Update: As for the amount of summonses distributed, it’s readily apparent that it has not deterred reckless driving:

Gothamist:

The woman was rushed to Kings County Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to an NYPD spokesperson who confirmed today that the driver, who remained at the scene, has not been arrested or issued any summons. The spokesperson also said that the NYPD’s specialized Collision Investigation Squad [CIS] had not been assigned to the case, speculating this was because the pedestrian’s injuries were “non-life threatening.”

So it’s demostrably clear that the NYPD’s handling of preventable incidents like these is not being treated with the severity it warrants, or perhaps a refusal too similar to the way that commanding officer in Greenpoint distinguished not so bad rapes from bad rapes. Which can only further enable more acts of reckless stupidity behind the wheel.

 

 

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