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2018: Total Traffic Deaths Increase, Roosevelt Boulevard Still a Death Trap

In what has become a terrible reality for Philadelphia, total traffic deaths in 2018 remained stuck at around 100 for the year—and, in fact, increased from 99 in 2017, to 103 in 2018.

Of those who were killed in traffic, 42 were pedestrians, four were bicyclists, and eight were either children/youth. Fourteen of the people killed in 2018 were struck by hit-and-run drivers.

As many already know, the Bicycle Coalition held vigils and helped put up ghost bikes at scenes where cyclists were killed throughout 2018. But we also put up signs to remember those pedestrians killed throughout the year (see image above.) The Bicycle Coalition has additionally been organizing victims’ families, putting together a Greater Philadelphia chapter of Families For Safer Streets, which will make an announcement in February of this year.

In perhaps the most stunning statistic from 2018, 21 of those killed in traffic were on Roosevelt Boulevard—Philadelphia’s most dangerous street. Generally speaking, Roosevelt Boulevard represents about 10-13 percent of traffic deaths in Philadelphia, due to its poor engineering, 12 lanes, and current lack of speed enforcement.

See all statistics for 2018 road deaths here. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is the only organization in the City of Philadelphia to keep a real-time inventory of where people are being killed in traffic.

It’s because of Roosevelt Boulevard’s treacherous conditions, and rising body count, that the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and the Vision Zero Alliance made it a priority to legalize automated speed enforcement on the Boulevard over the last two years.

Because of our advocacy, that bill was passed in the state Legislature and signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf.

Unfortunately, although the bill we advocated for was made law, we still need to wait for the City of Philadelphia’s legislative body to pass enabling legislation—essentially legislation which allows the city to implement this policy—before the cameras can be used to make the streets safer. The city and Philadelphia Parking Authority then need to install and implement the policy.

As noted in a recent Philadelphia Inquirer piece by transportation reporter Jason Laughlin, it may take until Fall 2019 to get the cameras up and running.

Speed cameras have been shown to bring down traffic deaths and serious injuries where they are installed, and we have no reason to believe this won’t be the case on Philadelphia’s “Boulevard of Death.” Once these cameras are proven as a safety measure in Philadelphia, we will continue advocating for similar enforcement measures on Philadelphia’s deadliest, fastest streets.

In the meantime, however, Philadelphians must wait for this safety technology to come to our streets before we can see real Vision Zero changes on the Boulevard.

As far as the rest of Philadelphia goes, these figures continue to show increasing statistical numbers for pedestrians and cyclists—our most vulnerable road users—using our streets, which is not acceptable.

Much of these statistics are what they are because Philadelphia’s full Vision Zero policy has not come to fruition. Philadelphia does not yet have a budget line item for Vision Zero supplies or bicycle infrastructure—which is sorely needed.

The Bicycle Coalition will be advocating this budget season for a line item for Vision Zero and bicycle infrastructure. And we ask that you sign our petition, which we will present to the mayor, which can be found here.

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Topics: Biking in Philly, Crash, Featured, research

One comment on “2018: Total Traffic Deaths Increase, Roosevelt Boulevard Still a Death Trap

  1. James C. Walker

    It is unfortunate that PennDOT and the city will likely choose speed camera profits above actually reducing accidents on Roosevelt Avenue. Follow the money trail is usually right.
    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

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