De Blasio rating: Mayor praised for launching Vision Zero, but critics say he didn’t go far enough

Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives pushed de Blasio even before he was elected to view street safety as more than an environmental or quality of life issue, but an issue of equity and health. General manager Danny Harris said the big changes to Queens Boulevard and the installation of the buses which helped speed up the bus times should have been replicated across town.

The first bus lane on 14th Street in Manhattan was installed in 2019 and restricts vehicles allowed on the streets to give priority to buses. MTA reports Eastbound buses on 14th Street run 22% to 47% faster than before the creation of the bus lane, saving riders almost 10 minutes if they travel end to end. the other from 14th Street. Now there are six additional bus lanes in total in the city: three in Queens, two in Manhattan (one in Washington Heights), and two in downtown Brooklyn.

“Where have these projects been replicated on a large scale? Whether it’s to save lives or to scale up what works? Harris said. “No, we have a lot of big plans, but it’s hard to look around the city and see a completely transformed streetscape where the streets really meet the needs of New Yorkers. “

De Blasio has also increased the number of cycle paths. By the end of the year, the city plans to have completed the installation of 162 miles of protected street bike lanes, for a total of 198 miles, as well as the installation of 252 miles of “conventional” – ie paint on the ground – bike paths, totaling 482 miles citywide. And CitiBikes are even more ubiquitous, from 6,499 bikes in 2013 to 23,472 bikes now. Although Citibike is privately funded, it needs to work with DOT and neighborhoods to install new docks.

Still Harris’s group said the mayor was too car-centric and refused to eliminate parking spots that he said could have been better used.

“No one wins on our streets because our city continues to pit us against each other,” Harris said. “The city makes us all fight for crumbs, doesn’t it?” You have to decide if you want a bike corral or a tree, or a safe place for your kids to cross the street. Meanwhile, you know, cars are able to do whatever they want.

He said he was extremely disappointed with the way de Blasio handled the pandemic, with regards to street safety. In May 2020, de Blasio assembled a panel of transport experts to find ways to make better use of the streets when the city reopens. Harris said the mayor had not followed any of the groups’ recommendations or even admitted receiving the report.

City council member and future city comptroller Brad Lander also said the pandemic was a missed opportunity to make major changes to street safety. “You can see in the data a kind of rise in various types of mental health disorders. I think dangerously reckless driving falls into that category and there’s just more of it right now, ”Lander said. “And we had no response to that.”

Lander, who has been a strong advocate for street safety and has used the council to hold dangerous drivers accountable through city law, said de Blasio’s eight years have been uneven.

“It’s always been a mixed story,” Lander said. “Good things have been done that have saved lives. But not with a fully daring program to transform our streets to make them safer. “

The city supports its efforts.

“Vision Zero has become a national model for tackling road violence,” Blasio spokesman Mitch Schwartz wrote in a statement. “But the most powerful legacy of this administration is that the streets of New York, to put it simply, are very different from what they used to be. The massive infrastructure of cycle paths has fostered a cycling boom. We’ve built almost half of the bus lanes that never existed. New Yorkers can play outside on an open street and have a meal in an old parking lot. None of this has been easy and there is still a lot of work to be done. But all of this has made this city safer and more livable. It’s a legacy worth building for the next phase of this fight.

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