Bicycle Coalition

Latanya Byrd speaks at Friday’s Vision Zero press conference

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, AARP-PA, AAA, and the rest of the Philadelphia Vision Zero Alliance, worked over several years to get Senate Bill 172 – which legalized speed cameras along Roosevelt Boulevard in North and Northeast Philadelphia – passed.

And today, the Vision Zero Alliance celebrated long-fought victory for traffic safety in Philadelphia at a Mayoral press conference about the first year of Vision Zero.

The victory was a large group effort, supported by State Rep. John Taylor (R-Philadelphia), and was made possible through the fierce advocacy of Northeast Philadelphia resident Latanya Byrd. In 2013, Byrd lost her niece, and three of her niece’s children, to speeding drivers on Roosevelt Boulevard.

She has worked with the Bicycle Coalition and Vision Zero Alliance over the last two years to legalize speed cameras and make Philadelphia safer.

“I want no family to go through what mine has,” Byrd said at City Hall on Friday. “And it’s with a heavy heart that we declare this victory today.”

AAA-Mid Atlantic, an organization that worked alongside AARP-PA and Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, were at Friday’s event, as well, and noted their satisfaction in seeing this process come to a close.

“AAA Mid-Atlantic commends both the Pennsylvania House and Senate for working across the aisle to pass Senate Bill 172 in the interest of improving traffic safety across the Commonwealth.” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “We believe automated speed camera systems, when implemented with AAA-supported motorist protections as outlined in SB 172, can contribute to the goal of reducing unnecessary fatalities and promoting traffic safety for all road users along Roosevelt Boulevard and in work zones across the state.”

“We are finally beginning to prioritize safety over speed,” noted Yocasta Lora, AARP Pennsylvania Associate State Director for Outreach. “We’re proud to support Vision Zero and SB172, which is a significant step towards reducing traffic deaths and serious injuries across the Commonwealth.”

Sarah Clark Stuart, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, noted this is an important delivery for the City of Philadelphia to reach zero traffic deaths by 2030.

“Although this moment took too long, it represents not only an important victory for the residents who live near Roosevelt Boulevard, but a victory for the City of Philadelphia and the entire Commonwealth,” noted Stuart. “For the first time, a proven technology that saves lives will be deployed to bring down the traffic death rate in Philadelphia and save the lives of highway workers throughout the state.”

The city also introduced their neighborhood slow zone program, as well as reduced neighborhood speed limits.

“Our city and our residents deserve safer streets,” noted Mayor Kenney. “Managing speeds to save lives is a cornerstone of Vision Zero.”

Philadelphia is now able to take advantage of existing technology that will, along with other traffic calming measures, like protected bike lanes and neighborhood slow zones, help make travel throughout the city safer.

“Hopefully, the results will demonstrate to the General Assembly that speed enforcement cameras should be allowed in any municipality on any road where speeding motorists are killing innocent people, especially pedestrians,” added Stuart. “This is an important first step for reaching Vision Zero in Philadelphia and it can’t come soon enough.”

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