City remembers Vision Zero pioneer

Lenin Fierro of Forest Hills, with his family, was an innovator in shaping New York City’s Vision Zero goals for vehicular safety within the city fleet. The Department of Citywide Administrative Services and the group Together for Safer Roads have endowed an award in his memory.

Lenin Fierro of Forest Hills was 42 when he died from Covid-19 in March 2020.

But the city’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services, where he had worked since 2014 on fleet and traffic safety issues, has made sure he will not be forgotten.

On Wednesday,  DCAS and Together for Safer Roads will present their first annual Lenin Fierro Vision Zero Fleet Advocacy Award. It will go to Nigel Reid, director of transportation for City Harvest, an organization that collects and distributes food to food pantries and soup kitchens.

The award will be presented at the Global Vision Zero Conference. It will be given annually to an individual who has shown the leadership, commitment, approachability and dedication to transform organizations toward the goals of Vision Zero, which aims to improve traffic safety while reducing the numbers of injuries and deaths.

Fierro was married with two daughters.

He began feeling sick on March 20 of last year and went to the hospital a few days later suffering from shortness of breath. Chest X-rays appeared to be normal and he was sent home to await the results of Covid testing. A few days later he was back in the hospital. He died on March 30.

“I would like to thank everyone for honoring my husband’s legacy,” said his wife, Brenda Fierro, in a statement released by DCAS. “Lenin was always proud of his work with Vision Zero and NTC Fleet. Thank you for keeping his memory alive.”

“Lenin Fierro was an extraordinary public servant,” said Keith Kerman, NYC chief Fleet officer and DCAS deputy commissioner for fleet management, in a statement from the agency. “A ten-year U.S. Navy veteran, he joined NYC government and immediately became a leader in Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero Safety initiative. Lenin pushed safety in public and in private, always challenging us to do better. He was the voice of safety for our fleet operators. This award is a tribute to his legacy, and we thank Together for Safer Roads for their partnership.”

Fierro is credited with leading the effort to train 70,000 city employees in safer driving techniques, and teaching thousands himself personally. He created New York’s first citywide collision management system. The Ecuador native also represented the city on Vision Zero matters to Spanish language media.

“Every day, City Harvest’s food rescue trucks are on the streets of New York City rescuing and delivering food for New Yorkers who need help putting meals on their tables,” Reid said. “It is crucial that we are as safe and secure as possible while we operate around this very busy city. I am honored to be the first recipient of the Lenin Fierro Vision Zero Fleet Advocacy Award in his memory and honor.”

Jilly Stephens, CEO of City Harvest, said Reid and his drivers are the backbone of the organization.

“With the surge in the number of New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity over the past year because of Covid-19, the work Nigel and the drivers do has never been more important to more of our neighbors,” she said

David Braunstein, President of Together for Safer Roads, concurred.

“Nigel Reid was a clear choice as the first recipient of this important award,” Braunstein  said.

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