This week, the City Council voted to accept $500,000 grant from the California State Office of Transportation Safety (OTC), to fund the City’s Vision Zero Education Campaign. Vision Zero is a public education and outreach strategy adopted by the Mayor and City Council with the goal of achieving zero traffic related fatalities in the City by 2025.

I voted to support the acceptance of this grant because education is an important component as we work towards eliminating many vehicular “crimes,” including hit-and-run accidents like those involving pedestrians and bicyclists in crosswalks. I believe that hit-and-runs are, in fact, cowardly crimes. Too often, motorists drive unsafely or distracted, and the result is a pedestrian fatality that could have been avoided.

We need to not only change traffic conditions, but also educate people to walk, bike, and drive more safely. By changing the physical design and condition of our City streets, we can make them safer. The City also needs to stop installing uncontrolled crosswalks (crosswalks that are simply striped but given no other safety controls such as beacons or flashing lights), as uncontrolled crosswalks provide a false sense of security for pedestrians. Simple traffic controls, including flashing beacons or roadway lights, would help improve safety by alerting motorists of the presence of pedestrians, and slowing them down.

We also need to look at revamping the City’s speed feedback survey to ensure that we can continue to enforce speed on our congested arterial streets and in residential neighborhoods. Currently, police officers are restricted from using all the tools available to them to enforce speed limits. By streamlining the speed survey process, we can begin to retake control of speeding in our communities.

All these efforts will be positively impacted by the acceptance of this grant for Vision Zero.Educating the public and providing outreach to those most impacted, will lead us down the path to achieving zero traffic related deaths. This is a goal we must achieve, and soon.