NEW YORK, N.Y. – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio enacted his “Vision Zero” plan to help cut down on the rate of deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents in the city. 

According to an FDNY union, it’s actually putting citizens at a greater risk.

The plan was to save lives. Now it’s putting more in jeopardy. (Flickr)

 

The “Vision Zero” plan says that the city can no longer accept the stats for what they are.

“The primary mission of government is to protect the public,” NewYork.gov said. “New York’s families deserve and expect safe streets. But today in New York, approximately 4,000 New Yorkers are seriously injured and more than 250 are killed each year in traffic crashes. Being struck by a vehicle is the leading cause of injury-related death for children under 14, and the second leading cause for seniors. On average, vehicles seriously injure or kill a New Yorker every two hours.”

Since then, they’ve begun adding structures and barriers to city streets to encourage motorists to slow down.

You may be asking… how can something like slowing down speeding cars lead to a greater risk of danger for a New Yorker?

It’s all in the timing.

 

The FDNY union slammed de Blasio’s plan, saying his measures are radically increasing the amount of time it takes for first responders to be able to get to the scene of a fire or other impending emergency.

The Uniformed Firefighters Association blamed de Blasio’s initiative for lining the streets with road barriers to help slow down traffic, which is preventing firefighters and EMS workers from getting where they need to be.

“Vision Zero is fully intended to save lives from traffic accidents, but by [the city] adding in concrete barriers and flower pots and everything else like that, you’re basically eliminating the ability for emergency service vehicles to get around,” UFA’s recording secretary Bobby Eustace said. 

He went on to say that the trucks they needed to squeeze through tight areas and around corners often cannot make it since the changes went into place.

“Intersections are now gridlocked, and our guys just can’t get around,” Eustace said.

The union’s fiery statements come after the Mayor’s Management Report was released this week, showing response times up in nearly every category across the board for both firefighters and EMS workers.

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The Post reported the study’s findings.

“Response times to structural fires rose eight seconds over the previous year, from 4 minutes 20 seconds to 4:28 — despite a slight decline in these types of blazes citywide over the same period, from 27,280 to 26,207. Meanwhile, average response times to life-threatening medical emergencies by ambulances rose by 26 seconds over the past year from 6:55 to 7:23. Fire companies saw a six-second increase, from 4:42 to 4:48.”

What’s worse, Eustace says, is that city leaders fail to properly inform emergency response workers before the changes go into effect. Without warning, firefighters suddenly found themselves battling to navigate through bike lanes, pedestrian walkways and other traffic-related obstacles.

“We had a company in the Bronx hit one of these barriers going 30 miles an hour, and it almost flipped the rig because they had no idea it was there,” he said.

 

What’s next for the city? A spokesperson with the DoT said that they would be working with the FDNY “and other first responders on every Vision  Zero project to see that their vehicles have access when needed, and that response times are not impacted.”

“This is a critical part of our street redesign process,” he said.

 

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