It was been a horrific month for pedestrian safety in the city.
Since Halloween, a dozen people have died in car-related fatalities, including a 50-year-old man struck when a car ran into a sidewalk in Brooklyn, a 62-year-old in Queens who swerved into traffic to avoid an open car door, a trick-or-treater who died in the Bronx, and a grandmother on the Upper West Side killed by a taxi driver bleary-eyed after a 16-hour shift.
They are all isolated, tragic stories. But they are also part of an ongoing policy quagmire in New York. Despite the high ideals, and quantifiable progress of Vision Zero, there still is not the sense of urgency, or public outrage, needed to stop the bloodshed.
Groups like Families for Safe Streets and Transportation Alternatives have helped. But the broader public mandate, like the outrage mustered so effectively against drunk driving a couple of decades ago, isn’t yet there.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, responding to this month’s awful numbers, insisted that “Vision Zero is working” and is “already yielding real results.”
While his facts may be right, his tone is maddeningly sanguine. Years from now, we’ll look back at this time in our city, when too many of us seemed to accept death on our streets as a part of urban living, and be shocked at our passivity.
We need to be outraged. We need to demand immediate change. We need to make sure a November like this doesn’t happen again.