Mayor Eric Adams pledged Wednesday to make streets safer for Big Apple pedestrians through redesigned intersections and ramped up traffic enforcement, days after a teenage girl was fatally struck by a school bus in Brooklyn.
Adams unveiled measures reminiscent of ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” initiative, including safety improvements at 1,000 intersections, enhanced traffic signals, 100 raised crosswalks and increased space for pedestrians.
“We are announcing major action to make our intersections safe,” he said at Caton and Coney Island avenues near the old Parade Grounds in Windsor Terrace — a neighborhood home to 26 traffic injuries in the past five years.
“There will be traffic-calming measures and recapturing space for pedestrians. We’re going to improve traffic signals, raise crosswalks and more.”
The blueprint includes pinpointing locations where traffic deaths and serious injuries have previously occurred to add new turn signals and “head-start” signal timing that allows pedestrians to cross before vehicles can turn; 100 new raised crosswalks at the curb per year to allow for better access for New Yorkers with disabilities and to serve as speed bumps that slow drivers; 100 new bike corrals; and double the city’s existing turn-calming treatments in 2022.
The announcement comes after a 15-year-old girl was fatally struck by a school bus Monday in a hit-and-run at Bedford Avenue and Avenue P in Sheepshead Bay. The driver, identified as Aleksandr Patlakh, 55, struck Antonina Zatulovska, and kept driving — with a rear wheel of the bus rolling over the teen, video of the incident shows.
Patlakh was arrested later Monday and charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to use due care.
“We are determined to declare the intersection as a sacred space and protect the space in the City of New York,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodríguez.
In addition to street design reforms, Adams pledged the NYPD will crack down on unsafe and illegal driving and biking.
“We’re going to double down on enforcement at efforts of failure to yield violations where people are just failing to yield to pedestrians as they cross the street,” he said. “And we’re going to enforce a new traffic rule: drivers and cyclists must fully stop at intersections even if there are not four-way stop signs, whenever there’s a pedestrian crossing or at the street corner about to cross.”
City officials also revealed that the city Department of Transportation will launch a public awareness campaign dubbed, “Stop, let them cross,” aimed at urging drivers to abide by traffic laws and to pump the brakes.
“People must learn the rules of the road or get off the road, and that is the message we’re sending out,” said the mayor.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell promised cops would “ensure compliance” of traffic laws.
“Stop if you see a pedestrian crossing the intersection. That does not mean slow down and navigate your car between people walking in the crosswalk; it means stop until the crosswalk is clear of pedestrians, then proceed. If our officers see a vehicle failing to stop while pedestrians are crossing in front of it, that’s where the enforcement comes in,” said Sewell.
“We’ve issued warnings. But the time for warnings has come to an end, and it’s time to obey this law, and we will be out there to ensure compliance.”
Adams also vowed to improve on Vision Zero, de Blasio’s signature but flawed safe streets program, calling the spate of 2021 traffic deaths a “dark period.”
“Last year was a dark period for us. We saw the highest level of traffic fatalities in almost a decade last year. No matter how much we lean into the Vision Zero, that vision was clouded by the number of deaths that we witnessed in our city,” he said.
“So this administration is clear on one message: we want to get stuff done. We want to be active. We want to move forward and continue to combine our city agencies to get the results we’re looking for.”
Bike New York spokesman Jon Orcutt praised the new plan.
“Elements of it are good, that we haven’t seen a lot — like raised crosswalks and bike corrals at intersections for added visibility,” he told The Post. “Most bike parking now is not at street corners. We’ve been calling for more physical stuff to calm traffic, and this fits the bill.”
“Enforcement has collapsed in the city, so any move to more traffic law enforcement is a good thing,” Orcutt added.
The measures revealed Wednesday also follow a dangerous year on city streets.
De Blasio’s final year in office, 2021, saw more traffic fatalities than any other year in his eighty-year tenure, according to city stats. As of Dec. 26, 266 people had died in car crashes in the five boroughs, according to the city Department of Transportation — the most since 293 people died in 2013.
Traffic deaths soared in 2021 as NYPD’s enforcement of traffic laws aimed at making streets safer plummeted during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to last year’s Mayor’s Management Report.