Safer Streets to Prevent Tragedy

| 17 Feb 2015 | 01:06

OP ED Last week, a woman crossing the street at 93rd and Second, right outside my district office, was fatally struck by a school bus. On April 10, a young woman named Kelly Gordon, following a successful interview at her dream job, was killed by two taxis. Both of these tragedies occurred in our district in the span of one month. Sudden events such as these forever alter the lives of loved ones all across New York City. Every two hours, a vehicle seriously injures or kills a New Yorker. Each year, 250 New Yorkers die from traffic incidents. And though traffic fatalities continue to decline, no pedestrian should ever die from a vehicle.

I support a Vision Zero plan that regards no serious traffic collision as inevitable, and seeks to improve designs and regulations for safer streets. New York City should strive to eliminate traffic deaths entirely. This bold idea has proven fruitful: Cities that have adopted a Vision Zero mindset have reduced traffic fatalities by 25% more than other cities, and New York City can do the same. Though the vision is lofty, no challenge is too big for a city as exceptional as ours.

Less than two weeks ago, I joined the family of Kelly Gordon and others who had lost precious children, siblings or loved ones to car crashes to call for the passage of key Vision Zero legislation. On a rainy day at City Hall, parents clutched the images of children lost to preventable collisions as we stood. Kelly's father, sister and aunt shared their heartbreak. They courageously honored the memories of the deceased by speaking up, and fighting for safer streets. Such initiatives include safety outreach and education; better enforcement against dangerous traffic behaviors; improving street design and plans through slow zones,; street markings, better lighting and street reconstruction; and more.

In our district, I have piloted a program to solicit information from nearly 60,000 households on unsafe intersections, because only through our teamwork can we improve our streets. I also held a safety walk along Second Avenue Subway Construction in April in order to empower residents like you to investigate and improve safety along any construction. I will keep working with the Department of Transportation, NYPD, MTA and you to improve the safety in our neighborhood.

Together, as a community, we can support one another, and work to achieve a future where zero New Yorkers are killed in collisions. Please share any dangerous intersections or other safe streets information you have by visiting

City Council-member Ben Kallos represents the Upper East Side