Perils For Pedestrians 229: Vision Zero

Perils For Pedestrians 229: Vision Zero


On this episode, we talk with the head of
the Washington Area Bicyclist Association about Vision Zero. Then we
drop in on the Vision Zero announcement. Stay tuned. We’re in Washington, DC,
talking with Gregg Billing, who is executive director of WABA. What does WABA stand for? WABA is the
Washington Area Bicyclist Association. And what you do? We are a 501(c)3 non-profit. We’re a
membership organization, but we do advocacy and education. We’re trying to make biking safe and
popular in the District of Columbia, in Maryland, and Virginia. We just had a press conference that ended
a few minutes ago, what were people talking about? Today
Mayor Bowser announced her two-year action plan for Vision Zero. Vision Zero
is the initiative to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries in
Washington, DC, by 2024. So this is a two year plan that shows how MPD, Ddot, and many
other city agencies are going to work together to end traffic deaths. Where did the
idea for Vision Zero, where did it get started? Vision Zero is an idea that’s come out
of some northern European countries especially sweden that looks at the system of our
transportation network and really questions how the system has been
designed so that when individuals make mistakes that people aren’t killed that’s a really important shift in how
we think about traffic fatalities often we we blame the driver revealing a
pedestrian payment bicyclist but we don’t really take a step back and say
was this road created in a way that would actually encourage safe operation
of all of those modes and so that when somebody makes a mistake that the speeds
are slow and that the design of the streets are different so that people are
not seriously injured or killed it so it’s a very different approach has been
very successful in Sweden and that’s why a lot of US cities including San
Francisco Chicago Portland Seattle now DC are using this approach to
address this epidemic what was Bobby’s role in helping drop
the vision zero plan so we’ve been involved in vision zero
for about 18 months we we started calling on the city to adopt a vision
zero plan in early on in the mayoral election during the primaries and so
when Mayor Bowser took office in March our last January she announced in march
that vision zero is going to be a a commitment of her administration and
that she would put together a diverse group of city agencies to work on the
plan and release at this fall so we were pulled in kind of later in the planning
process but there was also a public input or anybody in the region could
hear in the city could give their input about safety issues and that they could
look at Street design they can look at enforcement education needs so we we
gave some comments later in the process and and the plan reflects some of those
some really excited to kind of see what is finally in the plan why is it important to to bring in so
diverse group of agencies and the public and groups such as yours when you’re drawing up a plan like this
well vision zero is a challenge the status quo it says that traffic deaths
are preventable and that we can change our public policy and decisions we make
to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries and so what it is asking is
that many more city agencies organizations individuals get involved
in that process and so you need to take in a lot of consideration and feedback
about where are all the small little changes we can make that really at the
end of the day will keep people alive who use our streets
what sort of targets or milepost are there in the plan so the plan released today is a to your
action plan so there’s not much time to sit around and wait many of the targets are have three 6 12
18 24 month deadlines so that’s not a lot of time to to wait two to get to
action this is really an action agenda one of the big initiatives of this is to
also open a lot of the data so vision zero is data-driven approach so we’re going to start to see near
real-time data on traffic citations on crashes and fatalities so we really can tell throughout the
year are we hitting the actual marks which is reducing death and injury if
we’re not we’re going to have to readjust plans and this really is a
shift in focus and the priority is ending death and so sometimes that means
we prioritize some projects over others or some initiatives over others trying
to get that to that number of zero mission of columbia is the center on the
sizable region are you know why there’s more than just
a district the whole region how do you see the vision zero idea is
spreading to the other jurisdictions in the area well he even if no other jurisdiction in
the region were to commit division 0 DC I don’t think can achieve vision zero
without cooperation you know hundreds of thousands of
visitors and commuters enter the district every day many of them in cars
and they have to be part of the the work too so while it is a regional organization
and we today called on the region to its to extend the vision zero commitment we’re going to host a summit in 2016
will be a great time to have a status update on where projects are and some of
the deadlines in the in the two year plan but also a chance to really raise
the issue regionally for the most part DC has a very low but persistent number
of traffic fatalities originally that number is is much higher and bicycles
and pedestrians actually account for a disproportionate rate of those
fatalities so we have a lot more work to do in the
suburbs well good morning everybody what a
beautiful december day in Washington DC i’m pleased to see you all here and I’m
even more pleased to talk about vision zero which is necessary and not only in
our city but in cities across our nation to keep people safe we know over the past two decades we
seen annual traffic fatalities in our city reduced i introduce very
significantly but still too many people are dying as a result of traffic
accidents in the meantime we have more modes of transportation more people
using our roads more people using our sidewalks more people riding the bus
more people taking advantage of our bike lanes more movements . and that’s good
news that means that our city is vibrant our
city is growing but with all of those new movements we uh just just just this
year we’ve seen 24 fatalities related to traffic any loss of life is unacceptable
acceptable especially if they’re things that we can do systematically to prevent
those losses that’s why we talk not about reducing
traffic fifth fatalities but getting to zero and that’s why we sign on to
President Obama’s vision zero initiative our goal is to get 20 deaths and
injuries zero injuries by the year zero deaths and zero injuries by the year
twenty twenty four and we can do this by being steadfast in our investments in
steadfast and implementing those investments that way we create safe
streets we protect our most vulnerable residents and we prevent dangerous
driving so we we know that we have work to do we
have our charge laid out for us in today we want to talk to you in more specifics
about what our vision zero action plan is for several months directed dorm show
has been leading a task force made up of DC government agencies community
advocates and residents they’re planning was driven by a simple
question what will it take to make people safe when they walk bike and
drive in Washington DC they developed a plan that incorporates
what we all know the three e’s engineering making sure the the roadway
environment is conducive to safety educating the public as well as
enforcing the laws that keep us safe so we added another e evaluation how do we evaluate the work that we’re
doing and and figuring out how at least to safety so I want to thank life I want to thank
Rick billing and and while Bob and Joe Reiner from all walks DC who contributed
to the development of our plan and I want to especially thank residents so
we’re going to and fro I tell the the folks that work for me
all the time that nobody knows how to engage their environment better than the
neighbor so they know where the the Rays sidewalk
is they know where the blind spots are they know the streets were people
repetitively speed at high rates they know when the trees aren’t being trimmed
or when the lights are too dim so we cannot create an action plan without the
residents of the District of Columbia so we know that there are some
operational things that we want to start to put in place today we identified laws
and regulations that need to be updated the things about laws and regulations
they to get public input so sometimes we get it exactly right and sometimes will
change it based on the input we received I will
work with the members of the council the pedestrian Advisory Council as well the council recently held a hearing on
visit vision zero in the legislative package that goes with it so I look
forward to their cooperation in their support as that package moves forward I was at a a meeting earlier today in
montgomery county where we’re talking about transportation in a region and I
can say without a doubt that everybody recognizes that if this city in this
region is to reach his true potential growth substantial growth you know what I tell people everybody
can’t drive and if everybody recognizes that and we want people to move to other
modes of transportation it is incumbent upon us to make sure
that we’re doing everything possible to make people safe when they walk when
they bike when they ride transit when they look for parking spaces when they
drive and Washington DC and that is what our action plan is all about the members
of this community had been especially dog it about a maryland avenue in the
traffic that it carries the commuters that come into our city and we love
people are coming to our city but we want them to follow the rules as well
and so I want to thank all the members of the ANC Commission’s here and there
may be adjacent Commission’s here I know that field team GN is that right is the
chair of anc six a field where you all right thank you feel for your leadership
and I also are there other ANC commissioners here we’ll give them a
round of applause anyway because we know that this has
been a very significant issue for them I can tell you having knocked on a lot
of doors or maryland avenue that the issue that came up time and time again
was the speeding and how and Tommy will know this and know this well that
families want to feel safe and the other thing that they will tell you is d that’s been
working on this a long time and that right Tommy I know you haven’t been here that long
life but just pretend like you have because that the residents are tired of
waiting for action I mean so we’re at maryland avenue but
we could be on Martin Luther King Avenue or we could be on alabama avenue south
dakota avenue for georgia avenue where I also hear from people about hey you know maryland avenue was not a highway we
live here slow down and so these are the types of concerns
and considerations that lead us to the work that we will do in this action plan so there’s nothing like a good plan but
there’s nothing like some action and so that is what we want to be able to
report to you in a meaningful way so that we don’t return here and somebody
says to me . been talking about this for a long time and nothing has happened so I can’t promise you overnight
transformation but i can promise you that we will be able to report to you on
feasible plans related to these actions so with that I
am pleased to introduce you to other speakers the the first of which will be
our director of the Department of Transportation who’s been doing a great
job with some really tough issues and he’s going to talk about the Department
steps in this direction and also acknowledge the many great people that
he’s been working with on the vision zero task force within the government
and i know we’ll also hear from Bob life good morning thank you madam mayor a mayor Bowser has
made it very clear to her agency directors that the vision zero plan
requires all hands on deck over 30 agencies came together to identify the
most effective strategies and the most urgent remedies for hazardous traffic
conditions in the District of Columbia while planning for vision zero we
conducted surveys all over the district and the residents told us that forty
five percent of the of the people who we spoke to knew someone who had been
killed or seriously injured in a crash 45% told us that they had had that that
type of tragic experience on the roadways what does this plan say what does vision
zero look like on the ground that’s really why we’re we’re here today
on maryland avenue because there are elements of vision zero incorporated
into some of the interim safety measures that we’ve taken here this corridor has been the site of many
serious crashes crashes we’re vulnerable travelers have been
seriously injured it also has abnormal rates of speed and
and and chronic speeding in both directions at very high levels of the 25
mile per hour speed limit and was well documented something we’ve been working
with the community to address for many years and we’ve got we’ve got more
improvements on the way our action plan includes a range of temporary
intermediate and permanent engineering treatments to calm traffic on this
street and streets like it across the district we will reclaim public space and add
neighborhood amenities that simultaneously reduce particular speeds our plan also prioritizes using better
data we are already analyzing crash statistics and resident reports but we
will get additional information that will help us understand the true nature
of risk on our roadways we’re looking at how the posted speed
limit and actual vehicle speeds the number and with of lanes the number of
people driving biking and walking and the geometry of the roadway will affect
the frequency and severity of crashes using this data we can tailor our
enforcement actions by adding additional photo enforcement technologies and other
types of safety mitigation measures we can determine if greater outreach for
education and awareness is necessary for a particular hot spot using the data to
really tailor the type types of interventions that we can make for
positive change we can also install new infrastructure
such as the new traffic signal that we have here at Maryland intent that was
just operationalized in the last several several months by taking into account
the volume of all travelers on this street we can see that this new traffic signal
street markings this street closure where we’re currently situated will
allow for amenities like the bike-share corral a safe crossing shorter crop
crosswalk connections here at the intersection we’re really trying to take an
interdisciplinary approach to solving these traffic issues that’s the direction that division 0 a
plan is taking us the safety trend is moving in the right
direction as the mayor discussed but we have a low but persistent number of
fatalities in the city that we need to move towards zero and ultimately 20 ok don’t know no one was injured don’t
worry after careful review of data interagency
communication and public engagement we have an action plan that has 68 discreet
and specialized interventions that range from policy enforcement data analysis
and engineering all to improve safety it’s time to use the action plan to hold
ourselves d . and all of our agency partners and
and community partners and associations responsible and accountable for the
lives that we want to save on the city streets we intend to meet the vision of this
plan in 10 years with that I’d like to invite one of our stakeholder partners
to the podium mr. Greg Billings is the executive
director of the Washington area bicycle association just one of many
groups that we’ve been working with since februari to develop this plan and
someone that we will be working with on a go-forward basis to implement the plan
Greg good morning it’s my honor to stand here today with
Mayor Bowser and DDOT director dorms Joe for the release of the two-year action
plan for vision zero today is a major step forward from Mayor
Bowser is commitment to ending traffic fatalities and serious injuries in the
District of Columbia by 2024 i would like to acknowledge and recognize the
extraordinary leadership of the mayor and director George oh and bringing
together a diverse group of city agencies to collaborate on the vision
zero action plan DC joins a number of cities in the
united states including San Francisco New York City portland and seattle in it their
commitment to ending traffic death division 0 action plan redoubled our
efforts to make the streets safer and friendlier for pedestrians bicyclists
transit riders and drivers like on jun 11 I stood at the corner of wisconsin ave
in 37 street and glover park minutes before i arrived a delivery
truck had turned on Calvert Street striking and killing 79 year old Peggy
Ruth Dickie who was crossing the street in the crosswalk it was the second pedestrian fatality in
DC in just two days i was in clover park that evening for an ANC meeting about a
day . street , project vision zero became very real to me that day in 20 24
26 people were killed walking biking or driving in DC and over the last five
years 7 by cyclists were killed and over 1,200 were seriously injured while
biking in the district we talked about numbers but we cannot
forget that each number represents a person who leaves behind a family
friends and community stricken with sadness and grief we can improve our
safety culture and end this pain to achieve vision zero we must challenge
the status quo vision zero compels us to confront the system and its designers
that allow traffic desk to be a cost of doing business data-driven enforcement and education
will target the most dangerous streets and roadway behaviour and r streets must
be engineered for the safety of all road users people make mistakes but our mistakes
should not be deadly street Street crossings for pedestrians must be made
safer we need a network of protected bike
lanes and low stress bikeways and speed limits must be lowered and enforced
regularly we can no longer put convenience over
safety the Washington area bicycle association with our 5600 members and
seventy thousand supporters is fully committed to achieving vision zero in
2016 wobble will organize eight community events one in each word of the city designed to
engage our neighbors on vision zero goal we will organize for neighborhood safety
audits teaching residents to critically examine their streets and the
communities and make recommendations for safety improvements additional host for
safety street community events for and workshops for families the District of Columbia can achieve
vision zero by 2024 but not alone every day hundreds of thousands of
commuters and visitors from Maryland Virginia enter the district regionally
425 drivers pedestrians and bicycles are killed annually and people who walk
and bike represent twenty-five percent of all regional traffic fatalities a
disproportionate rate engineering enforcement and education must be
consistent across jurisdictions we are calling on elected officials
transportation officials communities across the region to follow mayor
Bowser’s bold leadership on vision zero wobble organize a regional vision zero
summit in 2016 we will work with a diverse group of
stakeholders and organizations to host a summit we will learn about DC’s progress
on vision zero learn about best practices from other US cities and
international cities and to continue the call for a regional commitment to vision
zero i would like to take this opportunity to formally invite the mayor
and director George code to attend the 2016 vision zero summit thank you again for the opportunity to
speak today and thank you to Matt mayor Bowser and director Charles Djou for
your leadership on vision zero eliminating traffic deaths in the
District of Columbia by 2024 can become can be achieved while the stands with you today in
committing to this goal and working with our leaders in the district government
to achieve zero traffic deaths and serious injuries all residents in DC should be able to
freely move throughout the city for work and play without the fear of injury or
loss of life thank you and I want to thank Greg and all of the
leaders passed and president members of ABBA I’ve been at this long enough to
remember in this region when we did not have bicycle racks on Metro buses when there were no black lanes there was
no bike parking and there certainly was no capital bikeshare and so we have come
a long way and not only saying that bicycling is good for recreation and
health and fitness but bicycling is a necessary commute option in a viable
commute option in a great city like our solicitor for Baba let me also recognize some from some
folks from my team who are here and when you get a chance to download the action
plan and look through the action plan you will see all of the members of the
of the vision see your task force within the government but let me acknowledge
NPD an assistant chief green on for his representation as well as chairman
sharper of the DC taxicab Commission director Tommy Wells up in your former
council member tommy wells a director of the DD d.o.e the OE the award-winning the OE and Tommy and
our dgs team just went to Paris where they accepted award an award on behalf
of all of us recognizing how green we are Eric shah who is the director of the
Office on planning and i also want to recognize Gretchen bromley who is the
hace director of student transportation so all the young people who are getting
around in the mornings are working with aussie alexis taylor our office of
Disability Rights and I know that David glasser is here who is representing the
department of motor vehicles so all of the directors let’s hear it for them for
their work on this project well first first of all there’s there’s
a whole principle of a road diet ok so that is the the removal of of of
travel lanes to it you know address that the travel demand of the current times
and so one of the major issues that we have with speeding is there’s too much
with on the roadway so it kind of invites acceleration so we look at
we look at transit service we look at lane with and we look
at signal timing to factor in whether or not we can lower speed limit narrow the
roadway the travel lanes without creating a congestion or any other
unsafe conditions so those are the types of factors that
we use in our determinations visit us on the internet at www.investmentpitch.com yeah be

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