A recent article in the Staten Island Advance analyzes the upsurge of traffic deaths that have occurred on Staten Island in 2021. According to the report, there have been eight road violence deaths in Staten Island since January 2021, “more than double the three traffic deaths the borough had seen by this time last year.”
The uptick in car crash-related deaths is attributed in part to a delay in streetscape improvements due to the coronavirus pandemic. It also represents the borough’s progress toward its “third straight year in which the number of people killed on Staten Island streets increased” while the city fights traffic deaths with its Vision Zero program. After a decline in traffic fatalities from 2015 to 2018, according to the report, they began increasing from a low point of seven deaths to eight in 2019 and 11 in 2020.
In a statement to the Staten Island Advance, a spokesperson for New York City’s Department of Transportation said: “We all grieve individually and collectively for every life lost on our roads… This year, we have noticed a rise in traffic fatalities in Staten Island and we are aware that more work is required. As New York City emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, we look forward to continuing street improvement work that was curtailed by last year’s limitations.”
Safe streets activists in Staten Island attributed the increase in deaths to policy failures. One organizer telling the Advance, “I definitely see it as a failure of the de Blasio administration and the Department of Transportation to keep us safe,” and noted that the Vision Zero program has been more effective in other boroughs than Staten Island, which has not seen as many infrastructure changes. The organizer called for streetscape improvements like “narrowing streets and and installing more speed humps,” explaining that such measures demonstrably reduce car crashes and car crash-related fatalities.
The organizer suggested additionally that speed cameras have been shown to mitigate both speeding and car crashes, and the injuries and deaths that result from them. Other infrastructure improvements like “improving intersection design, allowing lead time for crossing pedestrians and installing sidewalk extensions, medians and elevated crosswalks” may also improve street safety, the Advance reported.
More information on the car crash fatalities in Staten Island and what activists are proposing to make streets safer in the Borough can be found via the Staten Island Advance.