Saturday, October 6, 2018

The need to turn Vision Zero into a truly urgent program

NYC Penn Station area

Major cities, including NYC and DC, have adopted Vision Zero programs. The goal of this program is to eliminate all pedestrian and bicycle accidents through infrastructure improvements and enforcement. But the effort is running into inertia.

People debate about what is statistically possible. This sets the Vision Zero goal up for frustration. The argument that Vision Zero is impossible to achieve muddies the limits of government resolve to make the investment.

These same cities also have emission reduction goals as a separate endeavor. But Vision Zero and emission reductions are one and the same.

We are looking at a scenario of a 7 degree fahrenheit increase by 2100. Life will truly be miserable if not impossible for many. By recognizing that we are heading, very quickly, into a catastrophe then building a robust bicycling infrastructure, investing further in mass transit, becomes far more urgent.

Recently, a memorial ride was held for a man who was killed riding his bike to work in DC.  

Thomas Hollowell strikes me as a very impressive individual. He was 64-years-old and biking in from Arlington. A photo of him shows him with a grandchild. I can only guess at Mr. Hollowell's motivations for bicycling, but would not be surprised at all if interest in c02 reduction was in the mix.

It's worth considering the idea that many people who are riding their bicycles and using mass transit are doing so partly out of the view that protecting the environment is important. In the minds of many, there is likely no difference. That should be true for DC's Vision Zero program as well. 

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