Recently elected New York City mayor Bill de Blasio inaugurated his "Vision Zero" plan last year that aims to get traffic deaths in The Big Apple down to zero by 2024. The numbers for 2014 show the initiative is headed in the right direction: pedestrian deaths dropped to an all-time low of 132, down from 179 in 2013, and overall traffic deaths (including vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, and bicyclists) numbered 250, down from 277 the year before. That record-setting pedestrian number masks the fact that vehicle-occupant fatalities stayed the same, and cyclist deaths increased from 12 to 20.

Vision Zero stipulations lowered the citywide speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 mph, created 27 "arterial slow zones" at accident hot spots with lower signage and more signs, increased NYPD enforcement of driving infractions – the number of summonses issued for failing to yield to a pedestrian increased by 126 percent, and secured state approval to post 120 more speed cameras. The results are a happy turnaround from late 2013, when advocates were saying things like, "The city needs to stop with the happy talk and get serious about protecting pedestrians."

To be fair, the previous Bloomberg administration did do a lot of work on pedestrian safety, the efforts led by ex-NYC Department of Transportation head Janette Sadik-Khan. Her department put out a Pedestrian Safety Report and Action Plan and yearly reports, created pedestrian plazas at busy intersections and redesigned city signage. The weather might also have had something to do with it: tremendously cold weather early in the year kept people off the roads, the same thing that happened the last time NYC had a record-low number of pedestrian deaths in 2011, with 237.

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