Action Needed to Match Vision Zero Ambition in Philadelphia
Claire Sasko checks in with Philadelphia's Vision Zero goal, which started off strong but has recently been heading in the wrong direction:
In 2017, the city’s first year under Vision Zero, a decrease in crash fatalities made the impossible look … possible. But during 2018, the program’s second year, traffic deaths actually jumped by 17 percent, for an increase from 78 to 91, continuing a general upward trend in people killed by vehicles on Philly streets.
The Vision Goal is ambitious, writes but Sasko, but the actions of the city have not matched that ambition when it mattered.
The city has failed to follow through with the kinds of game-changing infrastructure projects that can permanently alter a city’s street-safety culture. One example? Bike lanes. In 2015, New York’s second year of Vision Zero, that city added 12.4 miles of protected bike lanes — more than double Philly’s total protected bike-lane network.
While Sasko's focus is trained squarely on Philadelphia's ambitions for traffic safety, the same story can be found in every city talking Vision Zero talk but not walking Vision Zero walk. The stories picked up by Planetizen on this same theme are numerous:
- Lack of Traffic Safety Enforcement Blamed for Vision Zero Failures (September 2019)
- Vision Zero Is Not Improving Bike Safety (August 2019)
- 'Vision Zero 2.0' Launched When Vision Zero 1.0 Didn't Save Any Lives (July 2019)
- L.A. Failing to Reach Vision Zero Goals (May 2019)
- Vision Zero’s Ambitious Safety Plans Face Implementation Realities (September 2018)
- Vision Zero, Bad Faith (July 2018)
- Vision Zero in Name Only (January 2018)
- One Year Later: No Progress Toward Vision Zero in D.C. (December 2016)
- Questioning the de Blasio Administration's Commitment to Vision Zero (September 206)
The question remains whether it's better to live in a city that has made a Vision Zero promise it had no idea how to keep, like the cities above, or to live in a city that can't muster the political will to make the promise in the first place, like Cincinnati and Phoenix.