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Vision Zero Isn't on Track to End Traffic Deaths by 2024, Advocates Say

By  Aidan Gardiner and Trevor Kapp | January 20, 2016 3:11pm 

 Transportation Alternatives' Paul Steely White, center, said more needs to be done to end traffic deaths in New York City.
Transportation Alternatives' Paul Steely White, center, said more needs to be done to end traffic deaths in New York City.
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DNAinfo/Trevor Kapp

MANHATTAN — The mayor's landmark transportation safety initiative, Vision Zero, isn't on track to end traffic deaths by its 2024 goal, advocates said.

In fact, if the current rate of decrease holds, traffic deaths won't end until 2055, according to the non-profit Transportation Alternatives, which released its annual assessment of the two-year-old Vision Zero effort on Wednesday.

"Vision Zero is working, but Vision Zero is not working fast enough," said TransAlt's executive director, Paul Steely White, during a City Hall press conference.

"New York still has way too many deadly and dangerous streets," White added.

The TransAlt report comes a day after Mayor Bill de Blasio touted Vision Zero's role in bringing pedestrian deaths down to a historic low of 134.

"That's good news," TransAlt officials said. "Unfortunately, fatality numbers aren't falling fast enough to meet Vision Zero's goal by 2024,"

Advocates said "progress remained dangerously uneven in the second year of the intiative" which is marred by "continuing inconsistency among city and state agencies."

TransAlt officials urged the city to adopt stricter benchmarks and stick to them in order to ensure traffic deaths come to an end.

They suggested that the Department of Transportation make safety upgrades faster and state lawmakers authorize more speed cameras.

As part of their assessment, TransAlt also issued grades to various government bodies involved in the safety initiative. They gave de Blasio a B plus, downgrading him from an previous A minus grade.

The City Council got an A minus, also a slight downgrade, and both the NYPD and District Attorneys got C minuses.

They praised Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, whom they dubbed "top of the class" when it comes to traffic safety advocacy, but said the Staten Island District Attorney was "bottom of the barrel" for not being aggressive enough on drivers who've struck and killed pedestrians and cyclists.

Seven cyclists and pedestrians were killed in Staten Island between August 2014 and December 2015, but not a single driver was brought up on Vision Zero charges.

"Until January 2016, the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office was managed with an outright disregard for the number of people killed and injured on local streets," the report reads.

READ MORE: MAP: Only 15 Percent of Drivers Who Kill People Face Vision Zero Charges

DNAinfo mapped out all of the sites of fatal crashes across the city since the Vision Zero charge was enacted, to identify where that charge was being used, and to show details of each crash and accompanying court documents.