“By the end of the 1920s, more than 200,000 Americans had been killed by automobiles. Most of these fatalities were pedestrians in cities, and the majority of these were children. “If a kid is hit in a street in 2014, I think our first reaction would be to ask, ‘What parent is so neglectful that they let their child play in the street?,’” says Norton.
“In 1914, it was pretty much the opposite. It was more like, ‘What evil bastard would drive their speeding car where a kid might be playing?’ ” – Hunter Oatman-Stanford
The above quote is from an excellent article on the history of traffic violence in the US and how motordom shifted the blame from motorists onto vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. We are all “traffic” but thanks to the self serving PR campaign of motordom in the 1920’s, anyone who wasn’t driving a car was painted as an obstacle obstructing a motorist’s pathway (and a nuisance).
So here we are, nearly a century later trying to reclaim public space. In NYC, we’ve had a huge paradigm shift in the last few weeks. Mayor De Blasio has made Vision Zero a priority and a reality. Thank you.
Right of Way has called upon the administration of NYC to accelerate the implementation of Neighborhood Slow Zones in NYC with a target date of March 15, 2014. It’s a bit more than 24 hours before the deadline Right of Way has set and no new slow zones have been established. So as Conrad Lumm of www.roadtrafficsigns.com (who generously donated the 20 is Plenty signs to Right of Way) states: “Sometimes it falls to citizens to bring local governments’ attention to pressing safety issues, and we applaud Right of Way for their creativity and persistence.”
Citizens will be taking matters into their own hands this weekend. In a period of 48 hours, Right of Way will work with and assist 10 communities to install Neighborhood Slow Zones within their districts. These slow zones are not ‘official’ and the signs will most likely be taken down within a few days. But the message will be strong: communities want the streets reclaimed for people at a human level. These Slow Zones will be a temporary gift to the citizens of NYC to help accelerate the implementation of Vision Zero
If you want to participate in the Neighborhood Slow Zone Raising action, email RightofWayNYC@gmail.com.
Whether or not you are gifted with a Right of Way slow zone this weekend, I sincerely hope drivers slow down and drive as if their children lived there. This isn’t a war on motorists, it’s a movement to bring civility back to our public spaces.