Philadelphia Vision Zero Alliance

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The Bicycle Coalition has been advocating for a comprehensive Vision Zero policy in Philadelphia for several years. After hosting the Better Mobility mayoral forum during the 2014 primary, the Bicycle Coalition and our partners hosted Philadelphia’s first-ever Vision Zero Conference in December 2015.

Fight for safer streets: Sign the Vision Zero Petition!

The conference featured experts and speakers from all over the U.S., showing the hundreds of audience-members how Philadelphia could make Vision Zero—the goal of zero traffic deaths—a reality.

Then, in 2016, the Coalition hosted a half-day forum; Vision Zero: Maintaining Speed, which specifically told audiences how Philadelphia could make automated enforcement a reality doing what other cities have already done: Automate traffic enforcement using red light cameras and speed cameras.

Sign the Vision Zero Petition here!

Now, the Bicycle Coalition and other like-minded partners, including AAA Mid-Atlantic, the African American Chamber of Commerce, Arcadia Land Company, 5th Square, Feet First Philly, Public Health Management Corporation, Clean Air Council, AARP, Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, Run215, American Health Association, Center City District, Jefferson University, University City District, Greater Philadelphia Realtors Association, Stuart Leon Law, Philadelphia Parks Alliance, Piscitello Law, Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance, Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, Solnick & Associates, Uber, and Lyft, have created Philadelphia’s first official Vision Zero Alliance. Together, the Alliance will support the creation of a comprehensive Vision Zero strategy in Philadelphia, and provide input to city government officials who will work on implementing Vision Zero strategies.

Vision Zero does not consist of one solution. Scroll down to learn about the various solutions the Vision Zero Alliance is working toward for the city of Philadelphia.

Vision Zero PHL Statement

In 2014, the City of Philadelphia saw over 11,000 traffic crashes that killed nearly 100 people and injured another 11,000. This is a public health crisis. The Vision Zero Alliance wants to encourage groups and individuals to join the cause by calling on Mayor Jim Kenney to make Philadelphia safer and healthier by implementing a comprehensive Vision Zero strategy.

The goal of Vision Zero is to dramatically reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes that occur in Philadelphia each year, with a long term goal of eventually eliminating all traffic deaths. Vision Zero policies aim to make all road users feel safe and comfortable using the street.

The Vision Zero Alliance believes traffic crashes must never be considered inevitable and offers to assist the Mayor in delivering on his campaign promise to set target goals and achieve substantive reductions in the number of deaths and severe crashes experienced on city streets.

The Alliance wants to encourage strategies that reduce impaired and aggressive driving as well as speeding using smart design and a robust education campaign that target all neighborhoods and road users. Whether someone is young or old, experienced or not or have a disability all streets must be safe and accessible.

Guiding Principles

RESPECT HUMAN DIGNITY: Philadelphia’s Vision Zero plan must create roadways where people can travel with dignity. Education must come before enforcement and enforcement should be used primarily to advance traffic safety and protect neighborhoods from dangerous driving behaviors that result in injuries and fatalities. Vision Zero must alter the public’s mindset that traffic deaths are inevitable and empower communities to fix dangerous conditions.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION COMES FIRST: Implementing Vision Zero strategies must start with robust community engagement that informs the plan’s entire process and prioritizes the specific concerns and needs of each community. The community perspective must drive the changes in infrastructure, inform the tone of education and guide enforcement strategies.

USE DATA TO ADVANCE SAFETY AND EQUITY: Crash and injury data must help identify and prioritize corridor and intersection and community improvements to protect the most vulnerable road users. Equity, including demographics, risk factors, traffic enforcement data and infrastructure gaps must be used to guide the Vision Zero plan to prioritize specific concerns of each community.

SET TARGET GOALS AND DATES: The plan must establish clear and measurable objectives for reducing traffic fatalities and severe injuries and set timelines for implementation. Progress must be publicly communicated annually and success measured by the level of investment in communities of concern, with priority on equity outcomes and safety metrics.

FUND VISION ZERO PROGRAM: There must be dedicated sources of funding in the City’s capital and operating budgets to support Vision Zero’s engineering, education and enforcement strategies. Adopting the Vision Zero name, a nationally recognized movement used in twelve other major US cities, will leverage public support for dedicated funding streams the programs goals.

Vision Zero Conferences
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Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney speaks at the first Vision Zero Conference

On December 3, 2015, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and numerous partners held Philadelphia’s first Vision Zero Conference, which brought together experts in the planning, health, advocacy and transportation fields to figure out how to make Philadelphia safer for all road users.

Read about the 2015 Vision Zero Conference: see videos, and presentations here. 

Vision Zero is a policy that seeks to reduce all traffic deaths in a given area to zero in a given amount of time, and we believe many citywide organizations —City Hall, the Philadelphia Police Department, and hospitals, among others — have an important stake in this issue. Even Mayor-Elect Jim Kenney came to speak and show his support for Vision Zero.

The conference was heavily-covered in Philadelphia media, and you can read about it Philly Voice, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly.com, Generocity, Plan PhillyThe Philadelphia Business Journal and CBS 3

The Bicycle Coalition held a second Vision Zero Conference in early 2016, focused on automated enforcement, and a third full-day conference has been held in early 2017.

Automated enforcement
red light cameras

A ten-year extension of Pennsylvania’s Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) Program was signed by Governor Wolf in spring 2016 after months of advocacy conducted by the Bicycle Coalition, Neighborhood Bike Works, the Morris Family, and others. The new law will keep the city’s 27 red light camera locations running for the next ten years, keeping our streets safer, and bringing more money to Philadelphia and other municipalities for safety programs.

We will continue to advocate for more red light enforcement cameras around Philadelphia. Red light cameras have been proven to make intersections safer for all road users, reducing fatal crashes.

Our group of advocates on the steps of the Pennsylvania State Capitol

Our group of advocates on the steps of the Pennsylvania State Capitol

ARLE is an important project, not just because of the money it generates for improvement projects, but because of the overarching goal: That there will eventually be no money gathered from the program once all drivers follow all the laws of the road.

As noted by Governor Tom Wolf earlier this year, this past fiscal year’s ARLE funds totaled $5.5 million, $2.8 million of which went to Philadelphia.

Click here to read more about this year’s ARLE funds.

This is a big win for the people of Philadelphia, and of Pennsylvania. And it’s worth considering bills like this don’t just pass on their own.

The effort behind this particular legislation was, unfortunately, fueled by a tragedy.

Earlier this year, 27-year-old Philadelphia engineer Jamal Morris was tragically killed while riding his bicycle on Market Street in West Philadelphia. The driver fled the scene and still has not been found. His family has been working with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and others, to prevent more cyclists from losing their lives in traffic.

In addition to red light cameras in Philadelphia, the Vision Zero Alliance will continue to push for speed cameras in areas that need them. Currently, we are advocating for automated speed cameras on Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia. Roosevelt Boulevard is not only the most dangerous street in Philadelphia, it’s one of the most dangerous roads in the entire country!

Read more about these efforts here.

Speed Camera Strategy Hearing
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Sarah Clark Stuart speaks at speed camera legislation press conference

State Rep. John Taylor has written a speed camera bill which he hopes to get through the Pennsylvania House.  Watch some of the coverage here:

The Vision Zero Alliance and State Representative John Taylor held a hearing on his Speed Camera Bill for Roosevelt Boulevard in September, 2016, where several members of the Philadelphia community testified and offered information about the legislation.

Bike Nice
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For Vision Zero to work, we all must treat our streets with respect. That’s why the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia unveiled the Bike Nice Campaign in Summer 2016.

Through an online and electronic billboard campaign in Dilworth Park, the Bicycle Coalition is showing the Greater Philadelphia community why we bike responsibly, and why we all should do so.

See more at BikeNicePHL.org

Tracking Fatalities

In addition…

The Bicycle Coalition has created Philadelphia’s first website to track all traffic fatalities in the city.

Unveiled in Fall 2016, this website puts a name, face, and story to every single person who needlessly loses their life due to traffic violence.

Protected Bike Lanes
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Example of a protected bike lane (Image via People For Bikes)

Protected bike lanes are a part of any Vision Zero strategy. Bike lanes with a physical barrier between the cyclist and motor vehicle traffic have been proven to get more people on bicycles, freeing up traffic and creating a safer space for all road users. The Vision Zero Alliance advocates for at least 30 miles of protected bike lanes on Philadelphia’s streets

Protected bike lanes are the bicycle infrastructure of the future and many of Philadelphia’s streets — including Erie Avenue, JFK, Market, and West Chestnut Street — are wide enough for protected bike lanes now.

The Bicycle Coalition has put together a map of where protected bike lanes should be installed here.

5th Square and the Bicycle Coalition hosted a press conference in Spring 2016, in which 5th Square handed over 1,000 signatures supporting protected bike lanes to the City of Philadelphia.

 

 

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