West Side Rag »Fatal UWS Traffic Crashes On The Rise; Locals call for more enforcement after enforcement declines

Posted on November 17, 2021 at 1:20 PM by West Sider

Aftermath of an October accident on W. 79th Street near Broadway

By Joy Bergmann

At its November meeting, the Community Board 7’s Transport Committee noted a “significant spike” in the number of road fatalities in CB7 with nine so far this year, up from two in 2020 and four in 2019.

“If we had nine people killed by guns, the community would be picking up arms,” ​​said Richard Robbins, a member of CB7, who compiled and presented the death data. “There have been 389 injuries reported by the NYPD in our district in addition to the nine fatalities. ”

Screenshot of the presentation of data on CB7 deaths in 2021

The Upper West Side is not alone in this increase in road violence. As the Times Noted in a recent analysis, city-wide traffic fatalities reached their highest level in nearly a decade. While the addition of more than 120,000 newly registered vehicles in the city may have played a role in the rise, road safety experts say poor driver behavior – possibly exacerbated by the pandemic – is the main driver. cause.

“As a result of Covid, we are experiencing unrest in all parts of society and one of the ways this is happening is reckless driving and bad driving decisions,” said Julia Kite-Laidlaw of the Department of Transportation of New York to CB7 meeting participants. “We know that all [street redesign] the engineering work we did with Vision Zero has not gone away between 2020 and 2021. What we know has changed is driver behavior. ”

Specifically, Kite-Laidlaw said, “When we look at what the investigations of these fatal crashes are showing, we find a lot of speeding, inability to yield. We are seeing a shocking number of hit and run, and hit and run often obscures many other wrongdoing such as driving without a license or driving while impaired.

When asked how the community could help reverse the dangerous trend, Kite-Laidlaw stressed the importance of passing the pending state law request that speed cameras operate 24/7. Currently, “we can only operate these cameras from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays,” she said, noting that last year, “about a third of off-road deaths occurred in speed zones of the schools where there are cameras but at times when the cameras were not allowed to operate.

Plus, the DOT wants to see NYPD agents do more. “We’re also working with our NYPD counterparts to put in place some of the in-person enforcement actions that we can’t ask cameras to do,” Kite-Laidlaw said. “Because, quite frankly, if people think the app will be consistent and fast, it will deter their behavior. ”

Susan Schwartz, a member of CB7, called the current streetscape “terrifying” for pedestrians. “We need an app for everything. All.”

“The NYPD never talks about law enforcement, whether it’s at the city level or the local level,” Robbins added. “It’s always an afterthought for them at best… Law enforcement is down considerably in our district this year.” Representatives from the 20th and 24th constituencies were not present at the meeting to comment.

Robbins then called for a resolution calling on the NYPD to “step up enforcement.” The committee has decided to table this idea for now, in favor of developing a resolution supporting DOT’s efforts to operate speed cameras and red lights 24/7. The committee also unanimously called for a complete removal of the state limit on the number of such cameras, allowing the city to significantly expand the enforcement program.

According to the latest NYPD data, Robbins is right about the drop in local app.

NYPD’s Upper West Side compound continues to issue far fewer tickets to drivers [including e-bikers] than in 2019, before the pandemic.

Comparing the 2019 to 2021 totals for the period August to October, the 20th constituency issued 37% fewer law breaking summons and the 24th constituency wrote 34% fewer tickets.

WSR fired the NYPD Data on tickets issued for certain key offenses:

WSR asked 20th District Captain Neil Zuber and 24th District Deputy Inspector Naoki Yaguchi to comment on the traffic stop figures. Neither responded; WSR will update this story if they do.

NYPD data shows that the decline in ticketing is also a city-wide phenomenon, with an overall drop in notices for moving offenses down 41%, according to WSR analysis.

WSR has asked the NYPD to comment on the matter. A spokesperson referred us to a November 4 Press release promising, “major education and enforcement efforts to change driver behavior …” and a new call for “state legislation to allow New York City automatic speed cameras to operate 24 hours a day and 7 days a week ”.

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