Open Letter to D.C. Mayor Calls for End to Traffic Violence

After a driver fatally struck a toddler, D.C.-area pedestrian and cycling advocates ask the District to take stronger action to prevent traffic fatalities.

September 24, 2021, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

14th Street Traffic

Aram Vartian / Flickr

In a letter to the office of Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), Greater Greater Washington, and DC Families for Safe Streets call for action against traffic violence, saying "[t]he District has the resources, the tools, and the expertise to make every intersection in this city safe for people—regardless of race, income, age, gender, or ability—to cross on foot, on a bike, in a stroller, or in a wheelchair."

The letter accuses the city of "a feeble, 'tactical' response" to traffic deaths: "some marginal infrastructure changes at the site of the crash, with no plan to address thousands of other similarly unsafe streets and intersections across the District with the urgency that a five-year-old’s death demands."

According to the letter, the District has seen 185 traffic deaths in the last six years, yet "on street after street, project after project, the District drags its feet, implementing proven safety measures only reluctantly and after aggressive compromise."

The authors conclude that "[t]he District can do better. We can and should interpret the right to freedom of movement to mean that people have what they need to protect and preserve their wellbeing as they move through the city." They "are asking for an ideology of safety" that "will lead the District to do everything in its power to slow traffic through the reallocation of parking and driving lanes to multimodal infrastructure, increase investments in transit to ensure every resident has a reliable alternative to driving, advance automated enforcement, and, overall, to shift its culture to one in which lazy, reckless, and unsafe driving is not tolerated."

Wednesday, September 15, 2021 in Greater Greater Washington

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