By: Grace Hancock
Back in 2019, Mayor Jane Castor announced the City of Tampa would make a commitment to implement a program called “Vision Zero” at the National Safe Routes to Schools Conference. A Vision Zero task force that is set to kick off later this month- February 2021- will begin discussions on how to start implementing the Vision Zero program.
What is Vision Zero?
Vision Zero is a program that helps cities gain an understanding of how to get better control of their dangerous roads. The primary goal of the program is to help cities reach zero traffic fatalities with a focus on preventing pedestrian fatalities. This program was first implemented in Sweden in the 1990s and has since proven itself successful across Europe. Vision Zero is now gaining traction in major American cities. Other than Tampa, cities such as Austin, TX, Fort Lauderdale, FL, and New York City, NY have started or are planning to implement similar programs.
How will Vision Zero help make Dangerous Roads in Tampa Safer?
Because cities across Europe and more recently the United States have been implementing Vision Zero for three decades- people like Vision Zero Tampa project coordinator Alana Braiser already have a good idea of which tactics work and which don’t. Braiser explained in an interview with Vanessa Araiza of ABC Actions New WFTS Tampa Bay earlier this month some of the steps Vision Zero Tampa is planning to take in order to ensure safety on the roads, such as creating more separated bike lanes, mid-block crosswalks, and rapid-fire beacons (also referred to as RFB’s or RRFB’s.) Braiser recognizes that anything done by Vision Zero Tampa won’t result in an overnight change, reporting that the task force will be focusing on quick build projects, which take one to two years to build, and capital projects, which take three to five.
Vision Zero in Other U.S. Cities
New York City, NY is just one of the many cities across the U.S. that has taken part in the Vision Zero initiative in an effort to keep their city-goers safe when on the streets. A report released by CBC News: The National in 2018 documents how implementing a Vision Zero program helped New York City reduce pedestrian deaths by 44 percent and traffic fatalities by 27 percent within four years. The report by CBC News reviews major changes NYC has taken since first enacting their Vision Zero program in 2014:
- Dangerous roads were redesigned to make them safer by taking steps such as shorting crosswalks by widening medians.
- Protected bike lanes were installed away from street parking and bus stops.
- NYC cracked down on traffic enforcement, which led to the issuing of more traffic tickets. A study done in the city of Toronto mentioned in the CBC News report shows that strong traffic enforcement leads to fewer people engaging in dangerous driving behaviors.
- Speed limits were lowered in an effort to control speeding.
There is no one way to carry out a Vision Zero program. Because cities are just as unique as people, the needs of the city will need to be taken into consideration when deciding which best tactics to put in place to ensure safety on the roads.
If you have recently visited a city outside of the Tampa area that had features such as shortened crosswalks or wide bike lanes, then it is possible that you’ve seen what happens when a city puts the Vision Zero Program in action.
How You Can Help
If you live in the Tampa area and have a street that you’re worried about, you can reach out to Vision Zero Tampa so that your concerns are heard. Vision Zero Tampa relies on community input from people like you to best protect pedestrians and other people on the road. Traffic issues and concerns, such as school area safety concerns, speeding concerns, and street marking requests can currently be submitted online or via phone call to Tampa’s Transportation and Stormwater Services Control Center at (813) 274-3101.
Call us Today
Driving around Tampa you have probably seen your fair share of accidents. If you or a loved one find yourself in this unfortunate situation, whether it is due to someone else’s negligence or even dangerous road construction, contact us today for a free case consultation.