A brand new billboard in East New York exhibits a pedestrian thrown into the air after bouncing off the entrance of a automotive, as his espresso splashes in every single place. “Rushing ruins lives,” it says. “Decelerate.”
The aim of the marketing campaign is to scare dashing drivers on this Brooklyn neighborhood, the place 35 folks have been killed in site visitors crashes since 2017.
It’s a part of New York Metropolis’s newest effort to battle rampant dashing, which has turned neighborhood streets into raceways and propelled site visitors deaths to the best stage in eight years.
“It’s getting uncontrolled — daily vehicles are dashing,” stated William Candelario, 64, whose auto restore store within the neighborhood was slammed into by a van final yr.
On Monday, the town’s transportation commissioner, Ydanis Rodríguez, will unveil a brand new security marketing campaign in three dozen neighborhoods like East New York, the place site visitors fatalities and accidents are among the many highest within the metropolis.
Focused areas embrace Bushwick and Canarsie in Brooklyn, Jamaica in Queens, Harlem and Washington Heights in Manhattan and Hunts Level within the South Bronx. Metropolis officers stated these neighborhoods had been chosen based mostly on elevated crash information.
“We’ve seen simply too many individuals dying on our streets, with crashes disproportionately concentrated in sure New York Metropolis communities,” Mr. Rodríguez stated.
The marketing campaign will function 18 high-profile billboards alongside high-crash roads and highways, in addition to posters on the again finish of public buses and at gasoline station pumps. Metropolis employees will probably be dispatched handy out postcards, brochures and fliers.
In New York Metropolis, site visitors deaths have risen to 64 this yr by April 26, from 61 for a similar interval final yr — largely due to a spike in deaths amongst drivers and passengers, which practically doubled to 23 this yr from 13 final yr.
Pedestrian deaths — although nonetheless the biggest share of site visitors deaths — fell to 30 this yr from 39 final yr.
Two cyclists had been additionally killed, the identical as final yr, in addition to 4 riders of motorized units, which was two greater than the yr earlier than, amid a pandemic boom in cycling and electric bikes, scooters and skateboards.
Simply over one-quarter of the 64 deaths this yr had been on highways — together with three deaths every on Henry Hudson Parkway and Grand Central Parkway — whereas the remaining had been on native streets all through the town.
The site visitors deaths have reversed some of the hard-won gains of the town’s eight-year-old transportation coverage, known as Imaginative and prescient Zero, which as soon as aimed to remove all site visitors deaths and had turn into a nationwide mannequin. Beneath the coverage, the town gained state approval to decrease the velocity restrict to 25 m.p.h. from 30 m.p.h. on most streets, constructed a sprawling network of nearly 2,000 automated speed cameras, and redesigned many streets to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
Mayor Eric Adams, who took workplace in January, has promised to develop on Imaginative and prescient Zero efforts. He not too long ago pledged $904 million to the city’s streets plan over the subsequent 5 years, which can embrace redesigning harmful intersections and including extra protected bike lanes and pedestrian areas. He has stated police officers may even enhance enforcement of site visitors legal guidelines.
As well as, metropolis officers are lobbying state lawmakers for native management of metropolis streets, which might give them authority to set velocity limits, develop pink mild cameras, and lengthen hours for velocity cameras at school zones to nights and weekends — when the cameras are off and dashing has soared. “Town wants to have the ability to management its personal future, in order that we will rapidly make adjustments that meet the present disaster,” Mr. Rodríguez stated.
The brand new billboard and media marketing campaign, which can value $4 million, goals to bolster these different site visitors security efforts by attempting to alter driver habits.
“It is a disaster and we have to use each software doable to make our streets safer,” stated Danny Harris, the chief director of Transportation Options, an advocacy group, which has pushed the town to handle the site visitors violence.
There was an epidemic of speeding and reckless driving across the nation throughout the pandemic partially as some drivers have turn into emboldened by emptier roads and lax police enforcement, in accordance with transportation consultants. New York Metropolis has additionally seen an increase in automotive possession as many individuals have averted public transit.
Even earlier than the pandemic, a rising variety of cities sought to decrease velocity limits and design safer roads over issues that larger speeds and bigger automobiles like S.U.V.s led to extra extreme accidents and fatalities.
“The chance of demise exponentially will increase as velocity will increase,” stated Alex Engel, a spokesman for the Nationwide Affiliation of Metropolis Transportation Officers. “That is particularly vital because the automobiles on the streets have gotten bigger.”
The eight-week, citywide marketing campaign may even embrace television ads exhibiting a pedestrian or bike owner being thrown backward in sluggish movement. And it’ll goal drivers on social media, based mostly on their on-line searches, and run in sure print publications.
Erick Guerra, an affiliate professor of metropolis and regional planning on the College of Pennsylvania, stated that whereas media campaigns are vital, they don’t have the identical speedy impact on slowing down drivers as, say, increasing using automated velocity cameras. “I feel it takes a very long time to alter a tradition of driving in the identical means it took a protracted strategy to change a tradition of smoking,” he stated.
Some transportation advocates have known as on cities to focus extra on redesigning harmful streets, saying that it’s not sufficient to come back right into a neighborhood and inform drivers to not velocity when its streets had been primarily constructed to maneuver site visitors as quick as doable.
“It’s a vicious cycle,” stated Leah Shahum, the chief director of the Imaginative and prescient Zero Community, a non-profit marketing campaign. “Why is there dashing right here? It’s due to the surroundings we constructed.”
In East New York, the billboard there will probably be seen by drivers going by a very harmful intersection at Atlantic and Pennsylvania Avenues, the place 167 folks — together with 154 motorcar occupants — had been injured in crashes from 2015 to 2019, in accordance with the most recent information accessible.
Laura Remigio, 35, a make-up artist and stylist who stated she was nearly hit by a automotive whereas visiting a consumer in East New York, stated that drivers go too quick and have lower her off within the crosswalk. “It’s speculated to be folks first and the vehicles wait — and so they don’t wait,” she stated. “I’m operating as a result of the vehicles don’t cease.”
However Ian Johnson, 67, a driver from New Jersey, stated that some pedestrians additionally have to pay extra consideration. He stated he typically has to honk at individuals who don’t look as they cross or are on their telephones “once they nearly stroll into my car.”
Mr. Candelario, whose auto restore store is steps away from the billboard, stated he hoped the billboard would lastly get the eye of drivers.
“It’s an eye fixed opener and it makes you suppose,” he stated. “You’ve bought to be exhausting. You’ve bought to place a bit of worry in it.”