The number of traffic deaths in New York City dropped in 2018 to the lowest level in more than a century. However, while overall deaths declined, the number of pedestrians killed in traffic increased last year, city officials said in January. Mayor Bill de Blasio has implemented a number of safety improvements through a program named Vision Zero, aimed at eliminating all traffic deaths by 2024.

The total number of people killed in traffic crashes in New York City fell to 200 last year, down from 222 deaths in 2017 and the lowest level since the city began tracking such deaths in 1910, according to preliminary data. The reduction is part of a five-year decline from 299 deaths in 2013, the year before Vision Zero began and the speed limit on most streets was lowered to 25 miles per hour.

Pedestrian deaths, which account for the largest share of traffic fatalities, increased last year to 114, from 107 in 2017. Mr. de Blasio said the city would do more to redesign streets to make them safer and to enforce laws requiring vehicles to yield to pedestrians.

The number of bicyclist deaths dropped last year to 10, from 24 in 2017, according to the city. The number of people who died in vehicles also fell to 37, from 58 in 2017. But the number of motorcyclist deaths increased to 39, from 33 in 2017.

The city’s transportation department said that 138 street improvement projects were completed in 2018, with more than 20 miles of protected bike lanes added.

New York City was once plagued by a huge number of traffic fatalities, which reached a peak of 1,360 deaths in 1929, even though there were far fewer cars then. As recently as 1990, there were 701 traffic deaths, making the current lower figures even more notable.

The city’s Vision Zero program faced a major hurdle last summer when state lawmakers failed to reauthorize speed cameras posted at 140 school zones – a policy the city said reduced speeding during school hours by as much as 63%. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, intervened to keep the cameras on. Johnson recently won the “Vision Zero Hero of the Year” award from Streetsblog, a street safety website.

Source: The New York Times

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