‘Vision Zero’ launches its effort to improve traffic safety

On September 13, 2017, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

Mayor Curtatone and Somerville Bicycle Advisory Committee, Ken Carlson, presided over the launch of the Vision Zero traffic safety program last week at Aeronaut Brewery. — Photo by Rob Carter

By Rob Carter

Mayor Joe Curtatone celebrated the launch of traffic safety initiative Vision Zero at the Aeronaut Brewery on September 5.

Somerville became one of 27 communities across the country to implement the system with the stated goal of eliminating “all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all,” according to its website.

“Somerville has put a lot of effort into being the most bikeable, walkable, transit-friendly city in the United States,” Curtatone said.

The mayor discussed a variety of solutions to help aid this goal including protected bike lanes and driver education, but focused largely on reducing car speeds.

“The data shows that, when struck by a vehicle going 40 mph, only one in 10 pedestrians survive,” Curtatone said, “Conversely, when struck by a vehicle going 20 mph nine out of 10 pedestrians survive.”

In 2016, the city government lowered the speed limit in Somerville from 30 mph to 25 mph, which the mayor praised as a step in the right direction.

“While crashes may be inevitable, those resulting in serious injury or death I would argue – we submit are preventable,” Curtatone said.

On top of increased safety, Curtatone said he believed changing the city to be more pedestrian and bike friendly would help the local economy.

“We become no longer a city you pass through to go somewhere, but we create a sense of place,” said Curtatone.

Somerville Alderman At-Large Mary Jo Rossetti said supporting the decision to adopt Vision Zero was “one of the best things I’ve done as an alderman” and she thanked the mayor for making the commitment.

Rossetti also praised efforts to lower city speed limits and specific traffic calming measures already taken like the Neighborways, which are street murals intended to slow traffic.

Chair of the Somerville Bicycle Advisory Committee, Ken Carlson, encouraged everyone in attendance to continue the work that led to Somerville adopting Vision Zero.

“There’s many ways of getting involved,” Carlson said. “Be an advocate, ride your bikes, and enjoy this beautiful weather we’ve got.”


1 Response » to “‘Vision Zero’ launches its effort to improve traffic safety”

  1. There are many ways to improve traffic safety, but the only way to achieve zero crash injuries and fatalities is to have the speeds of all vehicles effectively limited to 0 mph. This can be a good idea in some limited pedestrian-only zones, but is totally unrealistic for our main collectors and arterials that move the bulk of our commuting, shopping, and commercial traffic in urban areas.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

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