Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday signed into law 11 bills intended to reduce traffic fatalities citywide as part of his Vision Zero initiative, speaking near the Woodside site where an 8-year-old boy was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer in December.
Noshat Nahian's parents attended the news conference in the schoolyard of P.S. 152, which their son was walking toward when he was killed. The school was also the location de Blasio chose last January to announce the Vision Zero push to reduce pedestrian and bicyclist deaths.
The intersection where Noshat was struck -- Northern Boulevard and 61st Street -- has been improved with pedestrian islands to shorten crossing distances, re-timed traffic signals to create pedestrian-only times to cross, and enhanced crosswalks and parking regulations for greater visibility, de Blasio announced Monday. The mayor said other intersections throughout the city can expect such upgrades.
De Blasio called the changes a "crucial piece of what we need to do to protect our people."
Among the 11 pieces of Vision Zero legislation passed by the City Council and signed by the mayor are measures that require the Department of Transportation to install seven "neighborhood slow zones" this year and next to lower speeds to 15 mph or 20 mph near schools; prohibit stunts on motorcycles; establish penalties for vehicles failing to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists; and require the Taxi and Limousine Commission to suspend drivers involved in a crash where someone dies or is critically injured.
"These bills really do important things for our city," de Blasio said, adding, "We are fundamentally committed to Vision Zero, and we're doing more every day. The vision is to end traffic fatalities in the city. It's not easy."
Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Taxi and Limousine Commission Chair Meera Joshi and NYPD Chief Thomas Chan attended the event in support of the new laws. Several members of the Families for Safe Streets advocacy group, including the parents of young children who have died crossing streets, and about one dozen City Council members also marked the bills' signing.
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan), chair of the council's transportation committee, said the measures "will change the culture" of how motorists interact with pedestrians and bicyclists.
When the legislation goes into effect differs from bill to bill, de Blasio said.
Police are also cracking down on pedestrians who jaywalk, with enforcement at the discretion of precinct commanders, de Blasio said.
The mayor also lauded Albany lawmakers for permitting New York City to lower its default citywide speed limit to 25 mph from 30 mph.
The city said about 4,000 New Yorkers are seriously injured and 250 killed each year in traffic crashes.