On Friday, members of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia held a memorial for the still unidentified victim of a traffic crash on the 4700 block of Whitaker Avenue in the Feltonville section of North Philadelphia.
The crash occurred on February 17 while the victim, a male in his 30s, was exiting his motor vehicle on the block.
As we will do for every identified pedestrian death in 2018, members of the Bicycle Coalition put up a sign at the corner of Whitaker and Wyoming Avenues to denote a pedestrian had been killed on this block. We have additionally updated PHLtrafficvictims.org for 2018 and will continually update it as we get reports of pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists involved in fatal crashes on Philadelphia’s streets.
About 100 people are killed in traffic crashes in Philadelphia every year. While about a third of them had typically been pedestrians and cyclists, in 2017, that percentage jumped to 45 percent. The City of Philadelphia has adopted a Vision Zero platform, using legislative and enforcement changes to reach zero deaths by 2030, but many of the implementations are not happening fast enough.
It was somewhat ironic that on the same day we were putting up another memorial to a victim of traffic violence, advocates of street safety, Philadelphia’s urbanist community, and its bicycling community were doing their best to push back against new legislation in City Council that would hinder Vision Zero, and make streets more dangerous.
Friday’s Vision Zero memorial was the second held this year. The first occurred at Roosevelt Boulevard and Large Street in Northeast Philadelphia. The latest one, while not literally on the Boulevard, was close enough.
It’s time out elected officials get out of the way of the city’s traffic engineers and allow the people whose job it is to make streets safer, make them safer, lest we have to visit dozens of sites throughout 2018 where pedestrians are needlessly killed.