Chicago Forward Plan Aims for Zero Traffic Deaths by 2020
Chicago Aims for Zero Traffic Deaths by 2022 | Streetsblog Capitol Hill
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his DOT head Gabe Klein have introduced a bold, 100-page plan to to make the Windy’s City’s transportation system more safe and sustainable.
The city’s “Chicago Forward Action Agenda” [PDF] places strong, even revolutionary, emphasis on safety, in addition to some admirable cycling and transit ridership targets. Highlights include:
- A target of zero traffic fatalities annually in 10 years. (The city has been averaging about 50 a year)
- 20 miles per hour zones in all the city’s residential areas
- A five percent bike mode shift on trips less than five miles (currently 1.3 percent of Chicagoans travel by bike, but in the central city the figure is as high as two percent)
- An emphasis on street maintenance, or “fix it first”
Chicago Forward Plan PDF
Some European cities have near zero traffic fatality rates. Think we can do that here?
There should be one caveat. On page 19 of the PDF:
Planning & transportation policy alone can't rectify the problem of 50 traffic deaths a year, when there's this element of the population that just has no respect for the law or for basic ethics. Having said that, it's becoming a less dangerous city every year (and at a much more impressive rate than Philadelphia), so that part of the problem is getting rectified, although separately.
Hit-and-run crashes were more common in Chicago than other major cities and comprised 33% of all crashes, with an average of two every day. Among fatal crashes, about 40% in Chicago were hitand-run, compared to 20% nationwide.
Chicago is not a city that's afraid of thinking big, or of following through with action, so it's certainly worth watching to see where this plan goes.
But these things are not static. European cities with lower rates traffic fatality aren't just full of nicer people who are more careful when driving. There's a lot public policy can do to drastically reduce traffic deaths because public policy influences behavior. That's what I think this plan is driving at and a major part of that is 20mph neighborhood limits and speed camera enforcement by schools and parks, better pedestrian and cyclist facilities, monitoring the most dangerous intersections where major accidents keep happening and fixing them, etc.
Originally Posted by OffenseTaken
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