Less than one month after a driver killed a young tourist and injured 20 pedestrians in Times Square, Harlem Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez announced legislation to take action and prevent similar tragedies. The legislation would require widespread installation of safety bollards by NYC DOT, like the one that stopped the Times Square driver from taking more lives. The focus would be schools, pedestrian plazas and priority safety corridors, as determined by DOT.
Council Member Rodriguez stood today with Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives and Council Members Menchaca and Levine to announce the legislation. It will be introduced next week on June 21st and will have a public hearing on June 22nd, where NYC DOT is expected to testify.
“Whether a driver has the intention to kill or not, pedestrians must be safe on our sidewalks and plazas,” said Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. “Bollards have proven they can save lives, as we saw in the Times Square attack less than a month ago. This bill will expand their use to more parts of our city to prevent avoidable tragedies.”
“Since 2014, 40 New Yorkers have been killed by curb jumping drivers,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “Sidewalks should be the safe-havens and Council Member Rodriguez is taking a proactive approach to protect pedestrians by encouraging more widespread use of bollards. This is a valuable safety feature in crash prone areas and we are proud to support its passage through the City Council.”
“The safety of New York City’s residents and visitors is the most important responsibility we have as a City government,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “By not waiting for another tragic incident to occur and installing protective bollards near pedestrian plazas and walkways right away we are deterring another situation involving a vehicle being used as a weapon from occurring and minimizing the effects of a possible incident. Thank you to Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez for his leadership and foresight on this very important issue.”
The legislation is also a response to the recent and troubling frequency of vehicles being used as a weapon of choice in terror attacks around the world. As New York City remains a perpetual target for terrorist activity, fortifying our most vulnerable points where pedestrians gather in large numbers is a key goal of the legislation.
Immediately following the press conference at City Hall, an SUV was in a crash that caused it to jump the curb at 38th Street and 9th Avenue in Manhattan. The number of instances where this occurs has reached an alarming rate and shows that pedestrians need protection not just from deliberate attacks but unintentional crashes as well. Council Member Rodriguez visited the scene following the press conference.