Vision Zero? How about Vision 25 by 25?
A coalition of safe-street advocates are calling on all mayoral candidates to commit to giving streets back to the people, by transforming at least a quarter of the space that’s currently dedicated to private cars into public space by 2025.
“We’re ultimately trying to get equity on our streets. We built the city around the automobile to disastrous results,” said Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris. “Our challenge for incoming leaders is to think about the incredible success in minor street transformations and scale that across the entire city.”
The vision, called “NYC 25 by 25,” has the backing of more than 80 organizations, including the 34th Avenue Open Streets Coalition, 89th Street Tenants Unidos Association in Jackson Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, Families for Safe Streets, La Colmena, Pakistani-American Youth Society, the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center, Tri-State Transportation Committee, and Bike NY.
And together, they’re asking mayoral candidates to reimagine 25 percent of the space currently allocated for vehicles — including 19,000 miles of travel lanes and three million on-street parking spaces — as public space within four years to create a healthier New York that puts people above cars, especially as the city recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, a health crisis that shined a light on the city’s unequal access to transportation and green space.
Using data from the Department of Transportation and Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, TA calculated that space dedicated to vehicles across the five boroughs comprises 76 percent, leaving just about 24 percent for people — despite more than half of households not owning a car.
Vehicle lanes make up 54.2 percent of the streetscape; sidewalks just 23.74 percent; bike lanes a meager 0.93 percent, and dedicated bus lanes a tiny 0.02 percent, according to TA’s bombshell report — percentages that are more than just numbers, but actually harm New Yorkers by causing traffic-clogged streets that contribute to $6 billion a year in traffic crashes and lost time, air pollution and worsening asthma rates, and more young people being injured and killed.