We are happy to report that after several years of advocacy by the AARP-led Livable Communities Network and our Policy team, Philadelphia’s Vision Zero budget has increased for fiscal year 2023.
Since 2020, the Bicycle Coalition, along with AARP and the Livable Communities Network, has advocated for an increase in the City’s contribution from $1M to $2M towards the Vision Zero budget. This effort is combined with District Council Member Jamie Gauthier’s Just Services campaign, which drew attention to the gaps in the budget for quality of life issues.
The Vision Zero budget in the Capital Program is made up of multiple sources, including state and federal sources of funding. Since Vision Zero’s founding in 2017, the City has contributed between $1 to 2 Million each year (except for FY21) of its own capital dollars.
The Bicycle Coalition and AARP’s Livable Communities Network jointly advocated that the City’s contribution be increased from its FY22 level of $1M to at least $2M for the FY23 budget. When Mayor Kenney released his FY23 budget in March, the figure was proposed at $1M.
From February to May 2022, the Livable Communities Network, Bicycle Coalition and Families for Safe Streets Greater Philadelphia sent letters, held zoom meetings and advocated that the City needed to increase its investment in Vision Zero.
This advocacy, along with District Council Member Gauthier’s efforts during Council budget hearings to ask questions about levels of funding for safer streets, resulted in the final approved budget published in August that increased the City’s Capital Traffic Safety Improvement Funds contribution from $1M to $2M plus an additional $5M in City Operating Revenue towards the Vision Zero Capital Line (73.1 on p. 222 of the FY23-28 Capital Program) in the FY23 Capital Program and Budget. When combined with funds from automated enforcement and other state and federal vision zero funds, the total for Vision Zero is $23M; an increase of $6M from the proposed March budget and slightly higher than the FY20 Budget.
The bottom line: In FY23, the Vision Zero program will have $23 Million in capital funds to work with, the highest ever since the program’s inception in 2018. This is excellent news for Vision Zero PHL and will position the oTIS/Streets Department to plan and build new infrastructure and programming to eliminate traffic deaths. While we don’t know yet how this funding will be expended, some possible new projects that these funds could support are additional Neighborhood Slow Zones, more speed cushions or different kinds of separators to protect bike lanes.