Growing Death Toll on City Roads

Christina Goldbaum

By Christina Goldbaum

  • Dec. 23, 2019, 5:19 a.m. ET

Credit…Sam Costanza for New York Daily News

Since Mayor de Blasio rolled out his Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic deaths in 2014, street safety has become a signature of his tenure. The mayor has pushed for upgrades at crosswalks, installed hundreds of speed cameras and agreed to a $1.7 billion plan for 250 miles of protected bike lanes.

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But six pedestrian deaths in a three-day period last week served as a reminder of the dangers that still plague New York City’s streets. The fatalities have prompted city officials to increase police enforcement efforts targeting commercial trucks, which were involved in four of the six deaths.

The fatal collisions began Wednesday morning when a 67-year-old man was struck in Flushing, Queens, and a 75-year-old woman was hit in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

The next day near Sunset Park, an 85-year-old man was struck by a box truck as he crossed the street. Later that day, a 26-year-old woman was killed after a truck backed into her in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan.

On Friday morning, another truck hit a man in Hell’s Kitchen, and three vehicles struck a 57-year-old man in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

The deaths cap a year of bad news for the mayor’s road-safety initiative: The number of pedestrian deaths and total fatal traffic collisions are up — if only slightly — from last year, when the city achieved the lowest level of traffic deaths in a century. And the number of cyclist deaths this year has more than doubled.

“We have had a difficult and challenging year under Vision Zero,” Polly Trottenberg, the city’s transportation commissioner, said on Sunday. “And as 2019 comes to a close, we want to make sure that this holiday season is a joyous and safe one for all New Yorkers.”

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