NYC inspired by Sweden's Zero Vision for traffic fatalities. Watch @pbsnewshour http://t.co/fnCS8Zhqr3— Björn Lyrvall (@bjornly) November 24, 2014
I begin this post by acknowledging that this is one of the dozens of topics I've been meaning to write about in much-greater deatil on this blog for quite some time. In the case of this particular important subject, for well over 18 months.
(And no, not just because it involves a critical and common sense initiative that comes from -yes- Sweden, but rather because it comes with about 17 years of real-world studies and facts to back it up.)
#VisionZero -Vision Zero is a transportation and public safety initiative that seeks to place the emphasis on engineering over law enforcement when it comes to preventing/reducing traffic and pedestrian fatalities/accidents on public streets.
Well, today thanks to public policy writer and pundit extraordinaire Nicole Gelinas, @nicolegelinas one of the most-interesting persons you can read and Follow on Twitter, I have a new and compelling reason to share it with you today.
A new reason to try to get you to seriously ponder the initiative and consider perhaps taking some personal action and initiative of your own with local government so that it can be introduced into your own city and neighborhood before it's too late.
So here's how we got here today.
At top of this post: Back in November of 2014, Björn Lyrvall, Sweden's popular Ambassador to the United States, tweeted out a public policy message that was, admittedly, like a sure-fire siren song for longtime pro-transit advocates like myself and the dozens and dozens of public transit officials/supporters/bloggers I know all over the country, and, of course, closer to home, here in South Florida.
For you newcomers to the blog, over the past nine years I've written dozens and dozens of posts here dealong with some aspect of public transportation, public policy and public safety, even including compelling cases or anecdotes I was familiar with that originated in -yes- Sweden.
For instance, there was this popular 2010 post that involved Volkswagen and a very interesting public policy and human behavior experiment they conducted in Stockholm that was very compelling, in both Swedish and English:
Our friend, Hastighetslotteriet, or The Speed Camera Lottery: The fun theory works in Stockholm, but NOT in Joy Cooper's Hallandale Beach, Red-light Camera Central
At the time Amb. Lyrall tweeted out that tweet in November of 23014, there were many variations of the message about the efficacy of #VisionZero circulating on Social Media in various guises, but this was perhaps the most-effective, since it also included the PBS NewsHour video that not only explains its genesis back in Sweden, but also why it's so necessary in urban areas of the U.S. today: Because everyday innocent people die from needless accidents, made more cruel and horrifying because they are twists of fate that DON'T need to take place.
'A long way from zero': NYC takes on traffic fatalities
8:19 Aired: 11/23/14 Rating: NR
Although New York City streets over the past few years have been the safest in decades, traffic accidents and pedestrian fatalities have recently started to tick back up. Now, city officials are looking to "Vision Zero," an initiative based on a model from Sweden. The plan hinges on expanded enforcement, new street designs and legislation to increase penalties for dangerous drivers.
Last week I first became aware -thru Nicole's twitter feed- that something quite harmful and negative to this effort was becoming the everyday reality for New York City residents, contrary to what had been portrayed in that PBS NewsHour video.
The result is that we now know that despite lots of well-meaning public lip service and the diligent efforts of Mayor Bill DeBlasio and many concerned citizens to do something meaningful and responsive for public safety in the country's largest city, and for a change, something that does NOT involve increasing the crippling tax burden of average city residents, with the apparent wink of complicit top NYPD officials, including Police Chief Bill Bratton, on a daily basis, NYPD Police Officers are undermining the initiative's goals thru outright sabotage, and which don't increase the level of public safety.
That message, upsetting as it is, clearly comes out via last week's New York Daily News Guest Op-Ed penned by Paul Steely White, Executive Director of the public policy group, Transportation Alternatives. @transalt https://www.transalt.org https://twitter.com/transalt
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Bill Bratton's blindness on Vision Zero: The NYPD needs to get fully on board Bill de Blasio's traffic enforcement plans
BY Paul Steely White
Thursday, April 21, 2016, 5:00 AM
Recently an NYPD officer was caught on video complaining to a driver he had pulled over that “Mayor de Blasio wants us to give out summonses.” After the cop was disciplined, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch fumed, “Suspending a police officer for speaking the truth about the reality of Vision Zero is a colossal, politically motivated overreaction by the department.”
The officer’s complaint and Lynch’s comments are significant because they reveal that the NYPD is not fully on board with the mayor’s goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2024.Read the rest of the essay at:
Some polite, constructive advice to @CommissBratton from @transalt to change with the times as the threats change.https://t.co/BkdzkNEb17— Nicole Gelinas (@nicolegelinas) April 21, 2016
Bratton's blindness on #VisionZero: NYPD needs to get on board de Blasio's enforcement plans @PSteely @NYDNOpinions https://t.co/kDqTN064KH— TransAlt (@transalt) April 21, 2016
— Kristian Bauer (@kristianbauer) April 21, 2016
Mobility & #VisionZero. More details at BTD hearing 5/9 at 11am. Also signal priority hearing tmrw 3pm #bosbudget pic.twitter.com/9xH5no4yjN— Michelle Wu 吳弭 (@wutrain) April 25, 2016
Cambridge commits to #VisionZero and adopts a Complete Streets policy - https://t.co/64lHlkMIUP #CambMA pic.twitter.com/7r94JKdpxU— City of Cambridge (@CambMA) April 25, 2016