By Ivan Pereira
Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed more details of his $400 million investment in Vision Zero projects aimed at reducing traffic accidents and pedestrian deaths.
Last year, the city saw a record-low 229 traffic related fatalities, and the mayor said investments in street reconstruction projects, extra crossing guards and an increase in speed guns for cops would help to bring that number down.
“We’re going to send a message to all New Yorkers who have a car. You have a responsibility for our children and our seniors,” he said at a news conference outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which has seen several accidents over the years.
The $400 million will bring Vision Zero funding to $1.6 billion over the next five years. The majority of the new money will go to creating pedestrian islands, improving signal lights and adding raised medians.
The city will also speed up the time that street markings are repainted, going from once every six years to once every 4 1⁄2.
De Blasio said the new money will pay for 100 full-time crossing guard supervisors and 200 additional part-time guards for the 2017-2018 school year.
“They make a world of difference, I’ve seen it with my own eyes many times,” the mayor said. “The presence of a crossing-guard makes drivers slow down.”
De Blasio reiterated that the NYPD will continue its crackdown of reckless drivers. The force will get an additional 120 handheld laser speed-detection guns.
“If you know you are going to speed, and you’re going to get a ticket, you’re not going to do it,” the mayor said.
The mayor’s budget has come under fire by some transit advocates, including City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, for its lack of funding to discount MetroCards to needy New Yorkers and CitiBike expansion.
De Blasio defended his proposals contending that the state should help out with transit fares and currently has no funds to boost the bike share program.