Vehicular Terrorism in the Age of Vision Zero

By Nicole Gelinas

Paris

Over two decades, Paris has been a global leader in livable streets as one of the first major cities to offer municipal bike share, and one of the first cities to snatch highway space away from trucks and cars and give it over to walkers and cyclists, gradually forming its riverside thoroughfares into open public spaces.

London

London suffered two deadly attacks in 2017, on and near two iconic bridges. In March, an attacker killed four pedestrians with a car on Westminster Bridge leading to Parliament before fatally stabbing a police officer, and in June, three attackers killed three pedestrians on London Bridge with a van, then stabbed and shot to death five other victims. Like Paris, London responded with new barriers and bollards. An attack on Parliament this August demonstrated their effectiveness when a would-be rammer ran straight into new steel and concrete barriers, which did not give way.

New York

In New York City, on Halloween 2017, a truck attacker killed eight people along the Hudson River bike path, and four months earlier, just before Memorial Day weekend, a car attacker killed a pedestrian in Times Square.

Conclusion

Car and truck terror is obviously a frightening development for cities — but cities like Paris, London, and New York can ensure that the response to it makes cities more livable, not less. Cities should keep a few precepts in mind in redesigning their streets.

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Transportation Alternatives

Transportation Alternatives is your advocate for walking, bicycling, and public transit in New York City. We stand up for #VisionZero & #BikeNYC.