Mayor Walsh encourages people to partner with the City to improve traffic safety on Boston's streets
February 11, 2016
Citing an increase in traffic-related fatalities and severe injuries, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today urged people who drive, walk and bicycle in the City of Boston to stay safe by paying attention to the rules of the road and being aware of others who are also traveling on local streets.
"With a recent uptick in traffic-related injuries, it is critically important that people be very careful and obey the rules of the road to keep not only yourself but your fellow travelers safe," said Mayor Walsh. "Our top priority is ensuring the safety of our residents, but we need the public's support to help us eliminate all traffic-related fatalities on our streets. I thank the members of the Vision Zero Task Force for their work in identifying opportunities to improve roadway safety and I look forward to implementing the next steps in the Vision Zero Action Plan to create safer streets across our city."
Last spring the City of Boston adopted Vision Zero, a national movement with a goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries from crashes. A Task Force was appointed that includes representatives from relevant city agencies and advocacy groups. In December, the Task Force released a detailed Vision Zero Action Plan that in part outlines two major initiatives:
- The new Neighborhood Slow Streets Program to be piloted in Dorchester's Talbot Norfolk Triangle and the Stony Brook neighborhood in Jamaica Plain, will introduce a variety of traffic calming and safety measures;
- Two Vision Zero Focus Areas, Dorchester's Codman Square and a stretch of Massachusetts Avenue, where measures will be implemented to improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
The Task Force also formed a Rapid Response Team that is quickly responding to serious crash locations to analyze the cause and gain insight to take correction.
In addition, WalkBoston, in partnership with the Elderly Commission, recently received funding from Tufts Health Plan Foundation to implement "Safe Routes for Seniors," a project with the goal of supporting safe walking for older adults. As outlined in the Vision Zero Action Plan, an educational campaign is currently being developed. The campaign will strive to reach a broad population, including the 100,000 older adults living in Boston. This will work to further the city's commitment to making Boston a more age-friendly city by fostering an environment where everyone feels safe to walk in Boston, regardless of age or ability.
"Making Boston a safe place to walk is key to the City's equitable access to opportunity, to long-term economic vitality, to fighting climate change and creating a resilient city, and to making Boston a great place to live, work and play," said Wendy Landman, Executive Director of WalkBoston. "We are pleased to be working with the City of Boston and state agencies on this very important issue."
According to Vision Zero, all drivers should know that driving over 25 mph greatly increases their chance of killing or severely injuring a person if they hit them, and it makes it less likely that they will see someone about to walk in the street. Traffic crashes do more than hurt those physically impacted. Like suicides, homicides, drug overdoses and other preventable tragedies, traffic crashes are traumatic experiences that have lasting impact on the people involved, as well as their families, witnesses and members of the community where a crash occurs. When a serious traffic crash takes place locally, the City of Boston has resources available to support people, including trauma specialists with the Boston Public Health Commission and staff from the Elderly Commission who help people to make sense of what happened and begin to heal.
Last month, Mayor Walsh announced the launch of the Vision Zero Boston Safety Concerns Map, an online tool that allows people to identify locations where they have concerns about transportation safety. Boston residents and visitors are encouraged to visit visionzeroboston.org/input, select the location of their concern, and add it to the map. People can also enter additional comments to concerns that were reported by others.
Mayor Walsh also announced that the City of Boston was recently chosen as one of ten cities selected by the National Vision Zero Network to participate in their new Focus Cities Program. The selection was based on the effort that the City of Boston has put into working toward the goals of Vision Zero and the progress that has been made toward maximizing safety on Boston's streets.
Please visit www.visionzeroboston.org to get involved and learn more about the City of Boston's commitment to traffic safety.