No Traffic Deaths for Three Years: The Story of Hoboken's Vision Zero Success

Hoboken has spent the past several years investing in new bike infrastructure, and traffic collisions of all kinds have since decreased.

1 minute read

April 8, 2021, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Washington Street Road DIet

The reconfiguration of Washington Street was highly visible at the height of pandemic social distancing in April 2020. | Martha Graham / Shutterstock

Eve Kessler reports:

Hoboken, a New Jersey city of about 54,000 souls directly across the Hudson from New York City, shows what can be accomplished when a municipality really focuses on the zero of Vision Zero — the “Mile Square City” has recorded no traffic fatalities for three straight years.

According to Kessler's sources at the city, Hoboken has prioritized bike lane infrastructure and committed to an identity as a pedestrian-oriented city to accomplish major progress in traffic safety. From 2019 to 2020, the city saw a 35 percent reduction in the number of pedestrians struck by automobiles drivers, an 11 percent reduction in the number of bicyclists struck by automobile drivers, and a 27 percent reduction in the number of vehicle collisions.

The proof of Hoboken's Vision Zero commitment is most visible on Washington Street, the city's "main drag," as Kessler describes it. "Before being redesigned last year, Washington Street had a high number of collisions and an outmoded design, with no bike facilities, no curb extensions and traffic signaling that favored the fast movement of automobiles." The redesign of the street included curb extensions, bike lanes, recalibrated traffic signals, and wider crosswalks with "retro-reflective, thermo-plastic stripes."

For more evidence that the ambitious goals of Vision Zero are possible, see also a recent Planetizen feature by Angie Schmitt.

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