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By our own analysis, the 2020 pandemic created conditions that resulted in a 60 percent increase in fatalities over 2019.  This development heightens the challenge facing Philadelphia to make dramatic strides toward eliminating traffic crashes that cause fatalities and serious injuries.

It timely then that Mayor Kenney has released his Vision Zero 2025 Action Plan setting out policies and actions his administration will take to address this public health crisis.

The new action plan is substantially more specific than the 2017 plan, and details a new philosophy for street safety, the Safe Systems Approach, which thinks beyond the “5 Es” of the European Vision Zero model into something we believe can be better utilized for Philadelphia’s unique problems.

Somber News:

  • July 2020 had 24 fatalities (three were bicyclists), which was the peak month for most people dying across all mode users (bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists)
  • Traffic Fatalities are 3 times more likely in low income neighborhoods
  • Traffic fatalities are 30 percent more likely to occur in communities where most people are persons of color

Good news:

  • Two slow zones (Fairhill and Willard) are in the works and two more were announced today (Tenth Memorial and West Passyunk). A fifth (Cramp Elementary) is being designed.
  • 10 miles of protected bike lanes have been (or will be) installed by the end of 2020. The table below shows the streets that are part of Philadelphia’s protected bike lane network, with the shaded areas still being constructed.

What’s New in this 2025 Plan:

  • Stories of victims are highlighted: Erin Wilson, Jamal Morris, Samara Banks, Emily Fredricks and Peter Jasvicas; a testament to the work of Families for Safe Streets Greater Philadelphia
  • Adopts a “Safe Systems Approach” that will focus efforts across connected systems to prevent all fatal crashes and works to design roadway environments that accounts for human error; de-prioritizes enforcement of bad behavior that lends itself to disproportionally targeting low income neighborhoods or BIPOC communities.
  • Releases a new High Injury Network map – 80 percent of fatalities/serious injuries on 12 percent of roads (instead of 50 percent)
  • Recommits to gather necessary data to develop a Vision Zero Racial Equity Analysis
  • A Vision Zero Capital Plan to address ten corridors and 10 intersections that meet equity goals or are proximate to schools, priority transit corridors, commercial corridors
  • Commits to releasing a map of the High Quality Bike Lane network (BCGP has been making this request for several years)
  • Commits to 4 “transformative policy goals”
    • State legislation to install parking protected bike lanes
    • State legislation to enable automated enforcement to be expanded
    • State legislation to enable Philadelphia to set lower speed limits on city streets
    • Vision Zero city ordinance

What We are Still Looking For from Mayor Kenney:

  • A commitment to restore capital dollars for Vision Zero in the FY22 capital budget
  • An increase in capital funds for speed cushions and other low cost traffic calming improvements
  • Investment of resources and political capital to get legislation passed in Harrisburg. Many of the projects prioritized in this report rely on enabling legislation from the state Capitol. As the past several years have proven, getting safe streets legislation passed in Harrisburg is extremely difficult, and the mayor can’t always count on members of his own party (or members of his own party in his own city) to prioritize safety.

Read the entire report here.

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