New Yorkers rally for safer streets, lower speed limits

When the 20 is plenty movement started it was met with derision and incredulity by drivers and politicians. After all, cars have rules our roads for decades and you can't stop or even slow down progress. But in New York City, (where two pedestrians died yesterday, hit by cars and a garbage truck) citizens are getting serious about taking back the streets. Families of those killed by cars and trucks are spearheading Families for Safe Streets: The new organization penned an article for the Gothamist:

We are families whose loved ones have been killed or maimed by reckless behavior and dangerous conditions on New York City's streets, and we are demanding an end to traffic violence. We are parents, children, partners, and siblings who have been forever changed by crashes, and we represent the full breadth of New York's diversity. As survivors, we bear witness to our pain and suffering in order to press for the elimination of traffic fatalities and serious injuries. We envision a city where pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists can safely co-exist, and children and adults can travel freely, without risk of harm—a city where no loss of life is acceptable.

Their main approaches include 20 is Plenty, the drive to reduce speed limits to 20mph (30 km/hr), install speed cameras, and to change the laws so that reckless drivers are punished. They recognize that this is not going to make everyone happy.

We know the changes we seek will not always be popular. Some people will complain about the inconvenience, about the loss of parking spots, and about the fact that it may take drivers a bit longer to get where they're going. There will be those who say not now, not this way, not on my block.

But the fact is, far more people are killed by cars than by guns, another in New York every 33 hours. 20 really is plenty, under the circumstances. More at Families for Safe Streets

Mayor Do As I Say

Meanwhile, the Mayor, who just introduced his Vision Zero plan, was caught by CBS with his entourage going way over the speed limit, going through stop signs, changing lanes without signalling, racking up 13 violations. The chief of Police said it's all fine, that the drivers did what they did “based on their specialized training in executive protection and professional judgment.” The New York Times is not impressed.

Ah, yes: blowing through stop signs, changing lanes without signaling: two proven executive-protection tactics, to throw off potential pursuers.

Maybe in Kandahar. This was Queens. A more plainspoken explanation by Mr. de Blasio on behalf of himself and his security detail — we were jerks, and this won’t happen again — would be more credible than invoking the Blackwater defense.

Tags: New York City | Urban Life | Urban Planning