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Dead on Arrival: Vision Zero Loses at the Phoenix City Council
"The Phoenix City Council for the first time ever discussed setting a goal to reduce pedestrian deaths — weeks after an Arizona Republic report that detailed the deadliest crossings — but then voted to kill the plan," according to an article by Agnel Phillip and Jessica Boehm.
The status of Vision Zero in Phoenix was still remarkably preliminary, given how many cities across the country have already adopted a policy, in name at least, to eliminate traffic fatalities. "Tuesday's vote would have directed city staff to assemble a framework of recommendations for reaching the goal of eliminating pedestrian deaths," according to Phillip and Boehm.
"Instead of seeking that research, several city council members said they were concerned that moving toward Vision Zero would force the city to adopt a strict protocol on all city streets that would lower speeds and, in turn, increase vehicle traffic congestion."
Phoenix has the highest fatality rate of any city in the state of Arizona over a population of 10,000. The City Council also recently voted to eliminate voter approved funding for a light rail extension planned for West Phoenix, and voters will get a chance to eliminate six planned light rail routes in an upcoming election. While public transit has been suffering in the local political scene, planners have been working to allow new density and building heights to the city's downtown core, so Phoenix will continue to be a location to watch the a confrontation between the shifting dynamics of planning best practices and the realities of urban politics in newer cities in the western United States.