New data released today by Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets shows just how much deadlier city streets, particularly those in The Bronx, have become since before the pandemic due to traffic violence.
Worst of all, The Bronx leads the five boroughs of New York City in such fatalities where one in four deaths have occurred on our borough’s streets resulting in the deaths of 47 people during the same time period.
According to the data, crashes have lead to the deaths of 188 people in New York City during the first 9 months of 2022—a 20% increase compared to pre-pandemic levels. People of color accounted for 87% of injuries in the top ten city council districts with the highest of such numbers during this time period.
“It’s truly devastating to see the latest Vision Zero data and the disproportionate impact of traffic violence in the Bronx,” said Shawn Garcia, the Bronx and Uptown Manhattan organizer at Transportation Alternatives.
Garcia added, “This is a direct reflection on the city’s continued lack of investment in safe street infrastructure in the borough. We also need our local elected leaders to show political courage in response to this crisis and start championing this work in their districts. Open Streets, bicycle lanes, traffic calming, intersection redesigns, and more are not luxuries but critical investments needed now.”
Among those tragically killed across the city during the first nine months of the year were 16 children under the age of 18 and already five more children than all of 2021. According to the data, this is 23% higher than any year since Vision Zero began. Of those 16 fatalities 13 were killed by trucks, buses, SUVs, and vans.
Meanwhile in The Bronx, traffic fatalities are unfortunately setting deadly records with the 47 killed representing a 31% increase in deaths during the first nine months of 2022 when compared to the same time last year and a 47% increase above the Vision Zero average.
The total number of killed, however, is unfortunately now higher as 5 more people have been killed in The Bronx since October 1st bringing the number of traffic related fatalities in the borough to 51.
New York City Council District 8, which covers parts of the South Bronx and East Harlem, has seen the highest level of cyclist deaths in the city followed by City Council District 18 in The Bronx which covers the East Bronx neighborhoods of Soundview, Parkchester, and Castle Hill.
Council Member Amanda Farias, who represents District 18, said, “As a Bronxite and longtime transit equity advocate, I know how deep the divestment and disenfranchisement of our borough goes. We cannot continue to divest and ignore the very real problems in our Black and Brown communities. This data shows why it is crucial that my colleagues in government and I continue to prioritize street safety investments and greater access to multi-modal transit hubs in my district and around the borough.”
“The Bronx continues to have one of the highest rates of traffic fatalities in the City, with more than two-thirds of the crashes in 2022 occurring in our borough. This is not only a huge tragedy, but an unacceptable pattern that must come to an end. We have to do more. I look forward to working with Transportation Alternatives and my colleagues to ensure we keep Bronxites safe,” added Farías.
In terms of pedestrian fatalities, City Council 17 in the South Bronx, which covers large swaths of the South Bronx including Hunts Point, Melrose, Longwood, and parts of Morrisania has the second highest rate of such fatalities within the city.
“The loss of one life to traffic violence is one too many and is a call to action for us to do more to keep our roads safe,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “As we are seeing more traffic fatalities than prior to the pandemic, it is a reminder that dedicated bus and bike lanes, enhancing pedestrian plazas and crosswalks and expediting capital projects can save lives and are a necessity. I want to thank the Administration, Transportation Alternatives and all of the other advocates for their work on this issue and it is clear that there is more that needs to be done to ensure our shared streets are safe for everyone.”
“Vision Zero works when our leaders scale proven solutions that prevent traffic violence. Mayor Adams’ completion of more than 1,200 intersection safety upgrades is proof that this administration can deliver on its goals,” said Danny Harris, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “Now, we need the Adams administration to demonstrate the same commitment to meet and exceed other requirements, like the NYC Streets Plan, in order to make NYC 25×25 a reality and ensure that no one needs to fear death or injury when crossing the street in New York.”
“No other year under Vision Zero has been as deadly for our children as 2022. My 9-year-old son Cooper Stock deserved to grow up. The 16 children killed this year deserved to grow up. Traffic violence is preventable — and we know that we can achieve Vision Zero with investments in physical street redesigns,” said Families for Safe Streets member Dana Lerner. “With just two months left in 2022, the time is now for Mayor Adams and DOT to finish the requirements of the NYC Streets Plan to make walking, biking, and taking transit safe for everyone.”
So what can be done to reduce these grim statistics and achieve the stated goals of Vision Zero where not one more death in New York City is attributed to traffic fatalities?
Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets urge the Adams administration the City Council to ramp up the installation of bike lanes bus lanes as New York City is legally required to build 20 miles of bus lanes and 30 miles of bike lanes across the five boroughs.
The organizations further call for such installations to be prioritized in neighborhoods that have experienced historical disinvestment such as The Bronx including low-income communities and communities of color. Any look throughout the city and one can easily see that such critically necessary infrastructure improvements tend to be located in wealthier neighborhoods.
With less than 8 weeks left in the year and the city behind their goals, the Adams administration will have to move at an unprecedented pace to meet their marks.
No one should be injured, or worse yet, killed while crossing the street or trying to ride their bike.