NYPD responds to critics with new pedestrian safety stats

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Traffic. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
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This afternoon, just a few hours after a critical report cited the "unspeakable bloodshed" on city streets, the NYPD released a new set of statistics in an effort to underscore the department's commitment to pedestrian safety.

In a release headlined, "NYPD ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF WEEK-LONG PEDESTRIAN SAFETY AND AWARENESS DRIVE," the department reported that last week "[p]atrol officers issued 4,347 moving violation summonses to motorists, issued 1,308 double-parking summonses to vehicles and made 91 arrests for moving violations," all of which was "part of the NYPD’s ongoing effort to decrease traffic infractions and conditions that cause death and injury to pedestrians."

The ticket blitz targeted intersections known to be dangerous to pedestrians, at rush hour.

The release also pointedly noted that "[o]ver the past decade, traffic fatalities have declined in New York City by 30 percent, and the last six years have been the safest in more than a century, recording the fewest traffic fatalities."

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All of which can be read as a response to growing criticism from safe-street advocates about a perceived lack of interest in street safety on the part of the NYPD.

Last week in Fort Greene, where nine-year-old Lucian Merryweather was killed by an S.U.V., advocates rallied for safer streets, bearing signs reading "Stop Driver Violence" and "People Before Cars."

Also last week, former (and would-be) NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton said that more can be done to reduce violence on city streets.

And then a few hours before the NYPD released its new numbers, Transportation Alternatives, which has been keeping up a steady drumbeat on the issue, issued a report called "Proven Tactics, Better Enforcement: How to Save Lives on NYC Streets," highlighting the "relative level of danger imposed on everyday New Yorkers by traffic."

It noted that "[e]very 33 hours a New Yorker is killed in a traffic crash," and "more New Yorkers are killed in traffic than are murdered by guns."

The report offered a blueprint for how mayor-elect de Blasio can achieve his campaign promise of trying to reduce street fatalities to zero.

One recommendation: targeted enforcement of the sort highlighted by the NYPD today.

UPDATE: Thirty-six minutes after the department sent out its release, it issued the following press notification:

On Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at approximately 0619 hours police responded to a pedestrian struck at the intersection of Rockaway Blvd and Farmers Blvd in the confines of the 105th Precinct. Upon arrival police discovered a male, of unknown age with severe head and body trauma. EMS arrived and transported the male to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced DOA. A preliminary investigation revealed a 2006 Subaru Impreza traveling eastbound on Rockaway Blvd struck the pedestrian when he was attempting to cross Rockaway Blvd at the intersection of Farmers Blvd from north to south. The operator remained on scene and the investigation is ongoing. Identification of the deceased pending proper family notification.