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Vision Zero Adds New 'Slow Zones' To Increase Safety for New Yorkers

The injury attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy continue to follow Mayor DeBlasio's traffic safety initiative "Vision Zero."

The DeBlasio plan outlines its ambitious goals to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within a 10 year time-period. Below is a recent announcement about a reduction in the speed limit for designated 'slow zones' to reduce pedestrian deaths. We also hope to shine the light, briefly, on pedestrians and how we can perhaps reduce the number of fatalities by illuminating a growing problem.

14 streets in New York City will now have reduced speed limits, according to an announcement from the architects of Mayor DeBlasio's "Vision Zero" initiative. The latest development involves slowing down traffic with new 25 mph zones. The latest implementation of the program begins this week in the Bronx.

A targeted area is Jerome Avenue between East 161st Street to Bainbridge Avenue. Signs are posted notifying motorists of the new 25 mph speed limit. Third Avenue in The Bronx, an area congested with motorists and pedestrians, is also targeted.

Another area that is subject to the new limits is Seventh Avenue from Central Park South to 11th Street, a bustling area of Manhattan. Other Manhattan streets include Amsterdam Avenue, Bowery, Houston Street, Park Avenue and portions of 6th Avenue.

Other areas affected by the new speed limits will be large sections of Brooklyn including Coney Island Avenue, Utica Avenue, Flatbush Avenue and the Flatbush Avenue Extension. The high concentration of Brooklyn roadways is hardly surprising given the ever expanding popularity of the borough. These roads are much more densely populated than anyone could have imagined when they were designed.

The other boroughs were not left out; Queens' Roosevelt Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue as well as Staten Island's Victory Boulevard are also included.

The plan will eventually reduce the speed limit to 25 mph on more than 65 miles of streets, where there have been a total of 83 traffic fatalities in recent years. The fact that there were 83 fatalities on this small sample of roads tells you how challenging it will be to realize the mayor's goals. Still, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg touts the import of 'Slow Zones', characterizing them as a "critical and widely endorsed element of Vision Zero." We will see.

The goal here is obvious and noble: Encourage safer operation of motor vehicles by enforcing reduced speed limits. In turn, this will save lives. What is too frequently ignored is the role pedestrians play. In New York City, pedestrians can never be too careful. Still, any casual observer will notice that at least 25% of pedestrians walk our city while intensely studying their phones or other electronic devices. Too often pedestrians wander into intersections aimlessly, focused on their electronic devices and ignoring the perils of traffic.

We now pay a lot more attention to distracted driving as a result of a blitzkrieg of mediation attention. What about pedestrians being targeted next? Reducing how consumed New Yorkers are with their electronic devices while walking our streets should lead to fewer tragic accidents. Is legislation too far a reach? Maybe. Or Maybe a series of well-timed public announcements and an influx of officers giving out tickets to distracted pedestrians will make a real difference to the success of "Vision Zero."

Block O'Toole & Murphy has been representing serious accident victims for decades. You can learn more about these trial lawyers and their more than $750,000,000 in verdicts and settlements by reviewing the firm website at You can also contact them at 212.736.5300 for a free consultation.