Refocus Vision Zero initiative
At last, we have arrived at the transition
period between mayoral
administrations at City Hall, with
Mayor-elect Eric Adams succeeding the
outgoing Bill de Blasio on New Year’s Day.
Over the next two months, many will
ask what de Blasio programs Adams will
continue or expunge. Undoubtedly, Adams
must consider the fate of “Vision Zero,” the
traffi c safety program that de Blasio initiated
early on to combat a surge in traffi c deaths
across the Five Boroughs.
Vision Zero dropped the citywide speed
limit, expanded the bike lane network,
physically altered roadways and took other
measures to get drivers to slow down and
save lives. It worked, for a while — but the
past year has been one of the deadliest the
city streets have seen in some time.
After 77 traffi c deaths occurred this summer,
the most in any summer during the de
Blasio administration, Transportation Alternatives
reported that the city’s currently on pace
to have the highest number of such fatalities
in the incumbent’s entire tenure at City Hall.
Why? For one, there are more vehicles on
the streets these days with mass transit still
struggling to rebound from the COVID-19
pandemic. More vehicles mean more drivers on
the streets, and an increased chance of collision
with other vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists.
The other problem, as other outlets have
reported, has been reduced police enforcement
in traffi c rules citywide. Any measures
taken to slow down vehicles, provide safe
spaces for bicyclists to travel and protect
pedestrians are moot points if offending
motorists aren’t punished for violating new
rules and regulations, or blocking bike lanes,
parking spaces and crosswalks.
Mayor-elect Adams should refocus Vision
Zero to not only include continued street
safety improvements, but also ensure that the
NYPD does more to enforce the regulations.
The honors system doesn’t work; we can’t
trust that all drivers will drive safely without
some level of enforcement.
As for drivers who say it’s unfair to target
them and not errant cyclists and pedestrians,
keep something in mind: Your vehicle weighs
2,000 pounds and features safety measures
to protect you in a collision. Bicyclists and
pedestrians have no such protection — and
if you hit them, they’re going to be seriously
hurt, if not killed.
Driving is a privilege, not a right. Drive
safely, lest you face the consequences of your
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Minority Women Business Enterprise
When female small
thrive, we all thrive
BY DR. NATHILEE CALDEIRA
October was National Women’s
Small Business Month, a time to
celebrate the importance of women
owned businesses. But our commitment
to supporting women small business owners
should not stop after October 31st.
Small businesses are the engine of New
York City’s economy, and women play a
critical role in kickstarting that engine.
New York City is home toapproximately
359,000 women-owned businesses, comprising
32% of all the city’s businesses. It
is imperative, both for the sake of hardworking
women business owners and
for the success of the larger economy, to
support female entrepreneurship. In short,
when women-owned small businesses succeed,
the entire economy succeeds.
But being a small business owner is not
always easy, especially for women of color
like myself. As a Guyanese-American immigrant
and one of the fi rst in my family
to earn an advanced college degree, I’ve
had to overcome systemic barriers at
every step toward becoming a successful
Through founding my psychological
services company, Let’s Talk Psychological
Wellness, P.C, I’ve experienced fi rst-hand the
challenges of starting a business. My years of
being a practicing clinical psychologist could
not prepare me for the challenges ahead.
Starting out, I lacked a network of wellconnected
business mentors or formal business
training, and I faced barriers due to my
gender and ethnicity in the male-dominated
business world. My story is unfortunately part
of a larger trend that women of color face.
PHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
Women business owners deal with unique
challenges, between balancing our businesses
with childcare and other family obligations,
and managing gender-based discrimination
at every step in our careers. We do not look
like the stereotypical face of the business
world, yet we are essential to it – creating
millions of jobs and fueling the economy.
The devastating impacts of the pandemic
only exacerbated the systemic barriers that
women entrepreneurs face. Recent research
from Goldman Sachs10,000Small Businessesfound
that 48% percent of womenowned
small businesses are struggling fi nancially
due to the pandemic, compared to only
39% of male-owned small businesses. As our
City looks toward recovery, investing in and
supporting women-owned small businesses
must be a priority.
We need to equip women business owners
with practical tools for fi nancial literacy and
business know-how. We must nurture networks
of women entrepreneurs and mentors
across the nation. The pandemic cannot deal
a fi nal blow to the small business fabric of
New York City. Now more than ever, we need
to create good jobs, stimulate spending, and
provide the services, culture, and entertainment
that make our city great. These cannot
exist without women-owned businesses.
A new month is here and National
Women’s Small Business Month is over. That
does not mean that our leaders’ commitment
to the growth of female entrepreneurship
should be over too. The success and future
of New York City is dependent on it.
Dr. Nathilee Caldeira is the founder and
director of Let’s Talk Psychological Wellness,
P.C. and a graduate of the Goldman
Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program.
88 November 4, 2021 SScchhnneeppss MMeeddiiaa