The streets of New York are increasingly deadly: alarm over the historic rise in road accidents

Road accident on Park Av, NYC, 2019.

Photo: Andrés Correa Guatarasma / Courtesy

More people are dying in traffic accidents in New York than at any other time, raising the alarms again on road insecurity in the most populous US city visited by tourists.

In addition to gun violence, traffic accidents have been another big challenge for the new mayor, Eric Adams. This despite “Vision Zero” (Vision Zero), road safety plan created in 2014 by then-new Mayor Bill de Blasio, who promised to make the city safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, with a goal of zero deaths by 2024.

This summer has been particularly disastrous on New York’s asphalt in the five boroughs. Eleven pedestrians were struck and killed in July, including one 99-year-old woman, Bernice Schwartz, run over in the Bronx.

Four cyclists perished that same month, including Carling Mott, 28, who was struck July 26 by a truck on the Upper East Side while riding a Citi Bike.

Also, 23 people traveling in motor vehicles died in NYC in July, included three Hispanic teenagers – 15-year-old Ashley Rodriguez and her friends, siblings Fernanda (16) and Jessie Gil (15) – in an accident on July 10 in Staten Island.

In total, 38 people died in road accidents last month, almost double the 20 victims in June. New York City had already experienced in April a 35% increase in traffic accidents, NYPD alerted. At the end of that month there was a tragic streak at an average of one person killed by a run over every day.

From January 1 to July 31 of this year, some 150 people have died in road accidents, according to the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT): 71 people in cars, motorcycles or other vehicles; 62 pedestrians and 12 cyclists.

And in August the fatalities have continued, including a tragedy knowingly caused by a woman who drove her car onto the sidewalk in Queens on Saturday in broad daylight.

An analysis by the traffic safety advocacy group “Transportation Alternatives” found that New York City has recorded 30 or more traffic fatalities during a calendar month just five times since former Mayor de Blasio launched the “Vision Zero”.

Four of those months have been in the last two years. Reckless driving at high speed has increased since the start of the pandemic throughout the country, and there are also more bikers – delivery men and strollers – on the streets. The rental and purchase of motorcycles and bicycles has been experiencing a boom in the city for some time, and many of its users they disrespect the traffic lights and the direction of the roads and, in addition, they have taken the sidewalks, further threatening pedestrians, in a city that boasted of being very walkable.

Charles Lutvak, a spokesman for Mayor Adams, argued that city and state officials have pushed through a series of street safety policies this year. They include a promise to redesign 1,000 intersections by 2022 and a measure by state lawmakers to allow speed cameras to issue tickets 24 hours a day from the beginning of August.

“As we face Nationwide reckless driving and traffic violence crisis, The number of traffic deaths we have seen in New York City this summer is concerning.” Lutvak acknowledged DailyNews. “Mayor Adams has made historic investments to make the city’s streets safer.”

But the new policies have not stopped the bloody streak and offer little comfort to those close to the victims on the streets of New York.

This month, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) reopened a public consultation phase to launch the Commercial District Toll Program (CBDTP) o “congestion pricing” with a direct impact on those who travel by car through the streets of downtown NYC, which It would lower traffic and pollution.