Statement of Paul Steely White, Transportation Alternatives:
The horrific news of a driver killing an 8-month-old baby on Astoria Boulevard in Queens -- a street in a “Priority Area” identified by the City as dangerous and in need fixing in 2015 -- is more new evidence that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero efforts are way off course. It is clear that the mayor must do more to fulfill his promise to prevent traffic casualties.
We want to know how Mayor de Blasio plans to solve this crisis. Next Thursday, Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets will travel with parents in a stroller-led protest to City Hall to demand answers from the mayor.
These fatalities are the clear result of ignoring data, and underfunding solutions that could save lives. New Yorkers are most often killed by speeding drivers and drivers who choose not to yield to pedestrians. The most effective preventative measures, according to the City’s own data, are to redesign streets to slow down drivers and give the most vulnerable users more protected sidewalk and street space that insulates them from reckless drivers.
Like 13-year-old Jazmine Marin who was killed by a driver on Crossbay Boulevard in Queens on Monday, this baby was killed also in a location that City of New York knew and identified as dangerous. In fact, a plurality of this year’s traffic fatalities have occurred on streets that the City has deemed inherently deadly. Yet, despite two successive pleas from City Council and advocates, the Mayor has refused to fund fixes to these streets.
Traffic fatalities on city streets and highways are up for the first time in three years. As of Monday, 192 had been killed on city streets, including 114 pedestrians. The killing of this baby makes 115 New Yorkers whose lives were cut short, just walking city streets.”
Statement of Sofia Russo of Families for Safe Streets, mother of Ariel Russo, 4-year-old killed by a driver in 2013:
“As a parent whose little girl was killed by a dangerous driver, I was so hopeful to hear about Vision Zero at the start of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, but without a tangible commitment from his administration, we’ll never reach that vision. To hear that another parent has lost a child is devastating. If Mayor de Blasio is serious about Vision Zero, I want to see him support this safety initiative with real resources and funding.”