Here’s our monthly summary of precinct-by-precinct Vision Zero progress in Queens. At the nine-month mark, we’re now three-quarters through our first year of Vision Zero. A lot has been accomplished. The city has held a series of town hall meetings and workshops in all parts of the city to gather input on street safety improvement needs; NYPD has stepped up enforcement; NYPD and DOT have increased public outreach and education campaigns; and legislators in Albany and City Hall have passed some important new laws to bring safety and accountability to our streets.
But much remains to be done. The city’s new 25 mph speed limit will enter into force soon, but was not yet in effect in the period covered by the data presented here. Only a small number of the newly authorized speed cameras have been put in place. NYPD has not made it a priority to investigate crash-related injuries and fatalities, and District Attorneys offices have not yet started to hold reckless and negligent drivers accountable for their actions under the law. DOT has just started the process of rolling out proposed improvements in response to what it has learned through its public outreach in the spring. And important legislation on red light cameras, truck wheel guards, and legal reforms still await action in Albany.
We are optimistic that all of this will be accomplished in due course. But it is important to keep the current status of Vision Zero in mind when we ask why injuries and fatalities in Queens and citywide aren’t falling faster.
Boroughwide there have been about 2,443 ped/cyclist injuries and fatalities so far this year, about 5.5% less than the average from the previous two years. Citywide, pedestrian and cyclist injuries and fatalities are down 6.4% from the average of the two previous years. In six Queens precincts (102, 104, 107, 110, 111, and 115) ped/cyclist injuries and fatalities are down by more than 10%. The greatest improvement has been the 25% drop in ped/cyclist injuries/fatalities in the 111th Precinct (Bayside).
So far this year, there have been about 8,458 injuries and fatalities among motorists and passengers, about 7.7% lower than the average from the previous two years. This figure has fallen by 8.7% citywide. Eight Queens precincts (100, 103, 104, 105, 107, 109, 110, and 115) have seen reductions of 10% or more. The greatest improvement has been the 30% drop in vehicle occupant injuries/fatalities in the 100th Precinct (Rockaway Beach).
Traffic enforcement rates in Queens continue to be strong:
- Tickets for red light running (failure to stop at signal) in Queens are running 29% higher than the average for the previous two years (citiwide tickets are running 39% higher). With a 109% increase over previous years, the 112th Precinct (Forest Hills) has shown the greatest increase in enforcement effort of any precinct in Queens.
- Tickets for speeding in Queens are up about 59% from the average over the previous two years (citywide, these tickets are up 43%). This excludes speed camera violations in school zones, which are also new this year and growing rapidly as more cameras are deployed. The greatest increase in speeding enforcement has been in the 113th Precinct (Jamaica), which has increased by 308% over the average of the previous two years.
- Tickets for Failure to Yield to Pedestrians, which before the past year was very lightly enforced, have grown 158% in Queens and 167% citywide. Enforcement has improved most notably in the 113th Precinct (Jamaica), where it has increased by 858% over the previous two years.
- Enforcement against illegal cell phone use while driving remains very low — 27% lower than the previous two years in Queens, and 20% lower citywide. The 102nd and 103rd precincts are the only ones in Queens with higher enforcement levels in 2014 than in 2012-13.
Queens continues to lead the city as a whole in terms of increasing enforcement against speeding. It lags the city as a whole in terms of reducing traffic injuries, enforcing failure to stop at signals, failure to yield to pedestrians, and driving while using cell phones.
As before, we recommend against drawing strong connections about changes in injury rates. Vision Zero is about changing the culture. Enforcement, education, and engineering changes will take time to translate into safer behavior. Also, the precincts are starting at different baseline levels of enforcement and injury rates, and they’re doing a lot of hard work on driver education that doesn’t translate directly into tickets issued. We’re tracking progress, but believe we should allow more time before we start drawing conclusions.
Keeping in mind that the precincts are all starting from different baselines, here are the precincts that are leading the way, relative to their averages for 2012 and 2013: