Progress has not come without some backsliding. It’s hard to find anyone, Ms. Trottenberg included, who thinks the city will achieve zero fatalities by the target year of 2024, as Vision Zero intended. Last year, street fatalities rose, and they may be on track to rise again this year, something Ms. Trottenberg attributes in part to a pandemic-era rise in motorcycle use and reckless driving, as people avoid the subway.
“It’s appearing to be a bit of a national phenomenon,” she said. “This has been a year of emotion and some disorder, and unfortunately that’s played out in a lot of different spheres, including on our roadways.”
Still, the building blocks seem to be in place.
In 2013, New York City won the right to deploy speed cameras near 20 schools. With Ms. Trottenberg’s help, the city won state authorization to deploy thousands of speed cameras in 750 zones that the city said would cover every elementary, middle and high school in the city. While Texas last year banned traffic safety cameras, New York City now has what Ms. Trottenberg says is the largest municipal speed camera program in the country.
In a bid to improve pedestrian safety, New York City also lowered its default speed limit to 25 miles an hour.
Ms. Trottenberg worked with the state’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority to implement the city’s first busway, along 14th Street in Manhattan. More busways are in the works.
And she expanded the city’s network of protected bike lanes from 36 miles to 120 miles, though advocates say the quality of the bike lanes — and the city’s enforcement of them — is lacking.
“We have cars and trucks parked in every single bike lane in the city all the time, even the best-protected ones,” said Jon Orcutt, a consultant for Bike New York and the former policy director at the city’s transportation department. “The protections they’re putting in are weaker than ever. Same with the bus lanes.”