Cleveland Ready for Vision Zero

Cleveland is working to become the latest U.S. city to set a goal to eliminate traffic fatalities.

2 minute read

August 30, 2022, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

One of the "Guardians of Traffic" in Cleveland, a scuplture of a large figure adorning a bridge in Cleveland. Downtown Cleveland is in the background.

One of the "Guardians of Traffic" located on the Hope Memorial Bridge in Cleveland. | Vuelo Aerial Media / Shutterstock

Cleveland is putting the finishing touches on a Vision Zero plan following four years of planning, according to an article by Steven Litt for the Plain Dealer. The plan would eliminate traffic fatalities in the city by 2032.

After providing an overview of the international Vision Zero movement, Litt describes the need for traffic safety improvements in Cleveland. “Some 19,000 crashes have occurred on city streets over the past five years,” writes Litt. “The average annual number of deaths from 2016 to 2021 was nearly 55. There were 74 deaths in 2021, and 31 as of August 8 this year” according to Litt’s source in the article, Calley Mersmann, Cleveland’s senior strategist for transit and mobility.

Traffic safety is also much worse in Cleveland’s predominantly Black neighborhoods on the city’s East Side, according to the article.

While traffic fatalities are climbing nationwide, and some cities that have made great fanfare of their adoption of Vision Zero have only seen more traffic fatalities in recent years, there are few notable examples of success, including Fremont, California and Hoboken, New Jersey.

Advocates, such as Angie Schmitt writing for Planetizen in March 2021, say Vision Zero is possible, with the right combination of technological and design changes, notably including speed governors on cars such as the technology required of electric scooters.

The source article, linked below, includes more details about the political and planning partnerships that paved the way for Cleveland’s new Vision Zero initiative. Vision Zero will be considered by the city’s Planning Commission later this week, before heading to the full City Council for final approval.

“The city is also ramping up its Complete and Green Streets program, following City Council approval earlier this year of an updated version of an earlier ordinance carrying the same name,” notes Litt.

Sunday, August 28, 2022 in The Plain Dealer

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