Traffic crashes killed 28 people in the Bronx during the first half of 2022 – a 22% increase over last year, according to a new study released Wednesday by streets safety advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.
The study found that, while the city as a whole was not on track to surpass the number of traffic deaths in 2021, the Bronx was still seeing disproportionate numbers of traffic-related fatalities. The study said this year’s traffic death count in the Bronx was already higher than any year since 2014, when former Mayor Bill de Blasio launched Vision Zero with the goal of addressing the problem.
“The problems that we see in the Bronx are problems that you see in communities across New York City that have not gotten investments in Vision Zero, that have been deprioritized, that have been overlooked, and that have not gotten an equitable share of investment, and have faced years and years of disinvestment and under resourcing,” Transportation Alternatives spokesman Cory Epstein said.
Traffic violence killed 113 people in the first six months of the year. That’s a 21% decrease from last year, the deadliest on record, but a 29% increase compared to 2018, the safest year since the start of Vision Zero, according to the report.
The study also found that hit-and-runs involving critical injuries remained high when compared to pre-pandemic levels — this year saw a 129% increase from 2019 so far.
Monique Williams, a Bronx resident whose father was killed in a hit-and-run in 2020, said she expected more out of Vision Zero after eight years.
“Nobody should experience the pain of losing a loved one to traffic violence,” said Williams, a member of an advocacy group called Families for Safe Streets. “With traffic fatalities in the Bronx at record levels under Vision Zero, our leaders must invest in proven measures that protect pedestrians, bike riders, and drivers here. Families for Safe Streets members know that traffic violence is preventable. Our city’s leaders must act now to save lives.”
The city Department of Transportation told Gothamist it was still committed to Vision Zero’s original ambition “to eliminate death and serious injuries from traffic incidents” and that additional investments in safer streets were being made under Mayor Eric Adams.
“DOT is focused in delivering projects equitably in underserved communities and is making significant investments in the Bronx, where the DOT is planning miles of new dedicated bus lanes and protected bike lanes to support efficient, sustainable travel options that improve safety for everyone on our streets ,” spokesman Vin Barone said, pointing to projects like the Fordham Area Bike Network.
The Department of Transportation also said that this year has been one of the safest so far on record, and blamed the uptick in traffic violence in the Bronx on reckless drivers.
But Transportation Alternatives said it wants to keep the pressure on the city in order to achieve street redesigns and reduce the number of cars on city streets. To get there, the organization has called on the city to devote at least 25% of street space to “safe space for people,” in the form of sidewalks, green spaces, busways and bike lanes.
“Vision Zero means reaching zero traffic deaths. It means preventing all traffic deaths by redesigning our streets,” Epstein said. “We’re still very far from reaching ‘Vision Zero’ and we really need urgency and action from the Adams administration to actually get us to vision zero and to save lives on our streets.”