Vision Zero's Bleak Year

Traffic fatalities increased citywide for the first time since 2014

31 Dec 2019 | 12:15

It was a challenging year under Vision Zero. For the first time since the street safety initiative was implemented in 2014, traffic fatalities have increased citywide. On Dec. 22, the mayor’s office released citywide data showing there were 215 traffic deaths this year as compared to 203 recorded in all of 2018. Most notably, cyclist deaths more than doubled from the previous year with 28 recorded. Just in the last two weeks of the year, six pedestrians were killed in a span of three days.

“While we’ve made tremendous progress over the past six years with Vision Zero, there is still undoubtedly more work to do to make our streets safer,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “The recent traffic fatalities have made us even more determined to keep Vision Zero moving forward.”

As of Nov. 30 — when the city’s Vision Zero data showing the location of where fatalities occur was last updated — traffic deaths in the Chelsea, Upper West Side, Upper East Side and Downtown neighborhoods for 2019 were largely on par with the previous year, with Chelsea having four more deaths than 2018. Between Nov. 30 and Dec. 22, there were 17 more traffic deaths, but the location of these deaths were not recorded on Vision Zero’s official website.

Citywide, the picture was bleak. In 2018, 10 cyclists were killed throughout NYC, but the numbers rose to 28 in 2019. Pedestrian deaths went up from 115 in 2018 to 117 in 2019. The year came to a particularly brutal end in late December. In what the New York Times called "a deadly 72 hours," 6 pedestrians were killed in three days in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

“The recent traffic fatalities have made us even more determined to keep Vision Zero moving forward.” Mayor Bill de Blasio