On Friday, June 18, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and Families for Safe Streets Greater Philadelphia joined Triny Willerton, the president of #ItCouldBeMe, and Bucks County resident Erin Fitzgerald for a conversation with U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s (Pa-1, Bucks and Montgomery Counties) office. The subject was Vision Zero and we were joined by James Longley, the Senior Legislative Assistant for Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. We requested Fitzpatrick’s support to co-sponsor the resolution for Zero Traffic Deaths and to prioritize safety in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act and Vision Zero funding in the US Department of Transportation budget.
With the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act in motion, the opportunity to prioritize safer streets for cyclists and pedestrians by implementing Vision Zero policies is a critical step in reaching the long term goal of zero traffic deaths by 2050.
Families for Safe Streets co-founder Laura Fredricks noted we need to place pedestrian and cyclist safety as the top priority when rethinking our shared streets. She urged Fitzpatrick’s office to make the necessary transportation safety decisions while the opportunity to improve our current conditions has never been better. “We don’t want it to be safer, we want it to be safe,” said Fredricks.
“Even to this day we’re struggling with this,” noted Latanya Byrd. Latanya lost her niece, Samara Banks, and three of Banks’ children, Saamir, Saasean, and Saadeem, to traffic violence on Roosevelt Boulevard in 2013. Latanya worked for two years to get the automated speed enforcement approved on Roosevelt Boulevard. Those cameras have reduced speeding on Roosevelt Blvd by 93 percent in 2020 according to the PPA-ASE Annual Report.
After an impactful conversation led by Laura Fredricks and Latanya Byrd—who both shared their story of how traffic violence took members of their family —as well as Erin, who shared her near-death experience along a well biked road in Bucks County, it was abundantly clear that safety improvements are needed in PA District-01 and nationwide.
Fitzpatrick’s assistant showed support for Vision Zero by saying that there’s a very good chance that Fitzpatrick will make these safety improvements a priority in Bucks County. We are continuing to follow up with Fitzpatrick’s office to figure out whether the Pennsylvania representative will co-sponsor the legislation.