Vision Zero? A Whole Lot of Nothing

On October 27, 2014, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law to lower speed limit in NYC to 25 mph. Granted, New Yorkers drive too fast and there are far too many injuries and fatalities caused by speeding drivers. However, there are also many pedestrians who cross and crisscross our City streets, ignoring crosswalks, crossing the streets wherever they please, like there are no rules of the road that apply to them, acting like they always have the right of way, even in the middle of the FDR Drive – yes, one rainy night I hit my brakes to avoid hitting a pedestrian after coming off the Third Avenue Bridge and merging onto the FDR Drive because he was running across the Drive instead of using the overpass. I wonder how many of these car injuries and fatalities the Mayor wants to prevent can be prevented by pedestrians.

I am not a fan of Vision Zero, though I hope it dramatically decreases injuries and fatalities by drivers, not always reckless. One might think that I am not a fan because I am a driver. I am a native New Yorker and therefore a walker and pedestrian, and I’m vigilant when I cross the street. As a pedestrian, most of the time, I cross in crosswalks; all of the time I make eye contact with the drivers of turning vehicles. I don’t trust drivers and you never know when brakes might fail or some other mechanical mishap, or something happens to the individual behind the wheel.

I am not a fan of Vision Zero because, as serious as speeding might be, I’m even more concerned about gun trafficking and the ensuing violence and the trafficking of girls and women. I haven’t heard much from the Mayor on these issues, and my fear is that Vision Zero might be the most significant thing this mayor does. Additionally, in a City where we talk fast, move fast, and are always in a rush, it seems counterintuitive to lower the speed limit. People will still speed, as they speed now. It’s part of the DNA of NYC.

I know many people do not miss the days of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Whether or not you liked Mayor Bloomberg, you could not deny that he had a clear Vision for the City. Some people did not like his vision because they did not like him. Some didn’t like him because he was rich; others didn’t like him because they thought he was arrogant. We have mostly rendered our verdicts on Mayor Bloomberg. The jury is still out on Mayor de Blasio, but right now, using my vision, which, granted, isn’t 20-20, I see a whole lot of nothing.


About William Eric Waters, aka Easy Waters

Award-winning poet, playwright and writer. Author of three books of poetry, "Black Shadows and Through the White Looking Glass: Remembrance of Things Past and Present"; "Sometimes Blue Knights Wear Black Hats"; "The Black Feminine Mystique," and a novel, "Streets of Rage." All four books are available on
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