‘Vision Zero’ traffic crackdown on Grand Concourse starting April 7

Department of Transportation Policy Director Jon Ocutt gives presentation about Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero to fight traffic fatalities.
Photo by Jaime Williams

Dangerous drivers, beware.

Police will be cracking down full force on illegal driving behavior on the Grand Concourse this coming week.

The enhanced enforcement between Fordham Road and E. Tremont Avenue starting April 7 is part of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero to eliminate traffic fatalities.

An audience at a Town Hall Meeting sponsored by Councilman Ritchie Torres on Tuesday, April 1, got a full view of the plan and a chance to over feedback to city officials there.

The multi-faceted plan to reduce traffic deaths in the city to zero involves law enforcement, legislation, street design and public dialogue.

So far this year, 51 people have died in traffic collisions across the city, with five of those in the Bronx. The public radio station WNYC is tracking the crashes at project.wnyc.org/traffic-deaths.

NYPD Deputy Chief Terrence Monahan said the crackdown along the Grand Concourse is the first of 20 city-wide Vision Zero initiatives, and it follows a week-long educational initiative by NYPD officers and Department of Transportation members on the Concourse near Fordham Road.

Monahan said that the educational push includes handing out pamphlets and engaging with people, as well as discussing traffic safety at local senior centers and schools.

He described the campaign as a “meet and greet” to get people to “think safety.”

Monahan said he believes in education before enforcement, but with next week’s crackdown, there will be no tolerance for dangerous driving behaviors, including failure to yield to pedestrians, running red lights, cell phone use and double parking.

“It’ll be very heavy enforcement for all infractions that take place along that stretch,” Monahan told the audience of a hundred or so attendees at the Bronx Library Center on Kingsbridge Road.

Audience members echoed the need for educational efforts and complained about troublesome intersections, directing their concerns to a panel that also included DOT Bronx Borough Commissioner Constance Moran, DOT Policy Director Jon Orcutt, a representative from the political action committee StreetsPAC, a representative from the group Transportation Alternatives, and Councilmember Torres.

Torres said traffic deaths are preventable, and he wants people to think of Vision Zero as an idea that is practical.

“Don’t think of it as mission impossible,” he said.

Upcoming Vision Zero events include educational opportunities and more public dialogue.

There will be two pedestrian safety workshops in May. The first at 6:30 p.m. on May 6 at Lehman College, the second at 6:30 p.m. May 15 at Hostos College.

The next Bronx town hall will be hosted by Councilmember Vanessa Gibson at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8, at the Latino Pastoral Action Center gymnasium at 14 W. 170th St.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and other councilmembers will also host a town hall on May 22, location to be determined.

Reach Reporter Jaime Williams at (718) 742–3383. E-mail her at jwilliams@cnglocal.com.

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