NYC Plans to Redesign 1,000 Intersections This Year to Protect Pedestrians

Mayor Eric Adams is aiming to make the streets safer for people.

Cabs in New York City

Although New York City's Vision Zero initiative launched in 2014 intending to eliminate traffic fatalities in the city by 2024, last year proved to be the deadliest year for pedestrians since its inception. This week, Mayor Eric Adams made a significant pledge to redesign 1,000 intersections in 2022 to increase traffic and pedestrian safety.

"After the tragedy of 2021, when traffic fatalities in New York City reached their highest level in nearly a decade, we clearly need to turbo-charge Vision Zero—and fast," The New York Daily News reported Adams said at a press event in Brooklyn this week.

Adams' plan includes installing 100 raised crosswalks to improve visibility, adding 100 bike corrals at intersections, and eliminating parking spaces near crosswalks where large vehicles can block sightlines. Gothamist reports that he also plans to aggressively increase police enforcement against drivers and cyclists who don't yield to pedestrians.

"As we take a new approach to Vision Zero, we know intersections are where pedestrians and cyclists face the greatest dangers—and so we can and will make hundreds of crosswalks safer with a range of treatments, both new ones and more of those that we know work," said Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "We will not be complacent or accept any life lost on our streets."

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio managed less than 1,000 intersection upgrades in his eight-year term, so Adams' goal is lofty. While traffic changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic have brought increased pedestrian fatalities in the city, there's also been a significant rethinking of how cyclists and pedestrians use city streets. This includes the wholesale elimination of cars from certain streets, the conversion of parking spaces to outdoor restaurant seating, and even a plan to finally get rid of the city's famous mountains of trash.

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Chris Mench is an editor focusing on NYC News at Thrillist. You can follow him on Twitter for more of his work.