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Mayor Adams Vows Crackdown On Drivers And Cyclists Who Fail To Yield For Pedestrians: 'Stop, Let Them Cross'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- In the 10 years since the Vision Zero initiative began, 2021 was the deadliest year for pedestrian injuries and fatalities. On Wednesday, the Mayor Eric Adams announced a plan to change that.

It's called "Stop, Let Them Cross." And it warns both drivers and cyclists to expect enforcement of traffic laws, CBS2's Jessica Moore reported.

A 3-month-old girl was killed in her stroller in Clinton Hill and a 15-year-old girl was hit by a school bus in Midwood. They were just two of the more than 122 pedestrians killed in city intersections over the past year.

"The prerequisite to prosperity is public safety and justice. That public safety also includes traffic safety," Adams said.

Last year saw the highest level of traffic fatalities in the city in a decade. On Wednesday, Adams and the Department of Transportation announced a new campaign to end traffic violence through smarter engineering and stronger enforcement at the intersections responsible for 79% of pedestrian injuries.

"We're going to reimagine 1,000 intersections all over the city. There will be traffic common measures and recapturing space for pedestrians. We are going to improve traffic signals, raise crosswalks, and more," Adams said.

WATCH: Mayor Eric Adams Announces NYC Street Safety Plan 

Also starting Wednesday, drivers and cyclists must fully stop -- not just yield -- for pedestrians in crosswalks, even at intersections without traffic lights or stop signs.

NYPD officers will be watching.

"That does not mean slow down and navigate your car in between people walking in the crosswalk. It means stop until the crosswalk is clear of pedestrians, then proceed," Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell added. "If our officers see a vehicle failing to stop while pedestrians are crossing in front of them, that's where enforcement comes in.

"Every officer is going to be focused on it and when they see these infractions they will be enforcing them," Sewell added.

The DOT said it will invest millions of dollars in the campaign, improving infrastructure and educating drivers about the new rules.

"We can do it. The 7 million New Yorkers who doesn't have cars expect that New York City will be there for them," Ydanis Rodriguez said.

Among them is Fabiola Mendieta, whose 5-year-old son was killed in traffic violence.

"I'm here representing all of the families like my own who have empty chairs at our tables because of our child, our partners, our siblings have been stolen from us, killed in crashes," Mendieta said.

The mayor said the new plan will mean fewer tables with empty chairs.

Editor's note: This story was first published Jan. 19.

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