This Friday, more than 200 movement leaders for safe transportation will gather in New York City for a symposium on Vision Zero — how New York and Sweden did it, and how their city can too. New York’s leadership on the issue has been inspiring: If you can make it (to zero) there, you’ll make it (to zero) anywhere.
And Wednesday, Advocacy Advance — a partnership of the League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Biking and Walking that helps local groups maximize their efforts — will announce $10,000 awards to groups trying to make Vision Zero a reality in their cities: the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and a partnership between Portland’s Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Oregon Walks.
Portland has already announced a Vision Zero goal and is now working to define its strategy, amid competing ideas from business interests and safety activists. Philadelphia, despite its progressive leadership, hasn’t yet embraced the idea and activists are still struggling to determine whether zero is even a sensible goal. After all, a commitment to zero deaths, unfortunately, most likely sets a city up for failure.
In February, Portland’s transportation director, Leah Treat, announced that Vision Zero would be part of the city’s next two-year action plan. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Oregon Walks want to make sure that one component of that commitment is the allocation of significant funding for safe streets.
Portland officials will vote next week on a proposed new street fee, the details of which are still being worked out. BTA and Oregon Walks hope the final $40 million package will be scaled for different income levels and that at least 45 percent of it will be dedicated to safety projects. The Portland Business Alliance is trying to reduce the fees for high earners and wants the entire sum to pay for maintenance.