PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia leaders announced a revised plan Friday to make city streets safer, with a goal of ending traffic deaths over the next decade. It’s an ambitious plan, especially with traffic deaths soaring during the pandemic.
But Philly officials believe the city can reduce traffic deaths to zero if vehicle speeds are lowered and some roads are redesigned.
This year, traffic deaths in Philadelphia are at its highest levels in two decades.
According to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the city saw 120 traffic deaths through October.
Among them was 32-year-old William Lindsay. His last moments were captured on a security camera, released by Philadelphia police in July.
Officers say he was riding his bike on Ridge Avenue in Strawberry Mansion when a driver slammed into him from behind, killing him. The driver fled the scene.
“With the support of each and every Philadelphian, we can save lives and make our city streets safer,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said.
Kenney is promising to end traffic deaths in the city by 2030 with his plan, called “Vision Zero.” The plan calls for more speed enforcement, an additional 40 miles of protected bike lanes and redesigning some streets, all by 2025.
A report released Friday shows a small fraction of city streets — about 12% — where nearly all traffic deaths and serious injury crashes happen in Philly.
“It’s important to take a longer look at where the trends are. A lot of our crashes are happening on the same streets over and over, year after year,” said Complete Streets Director Kelley Yemen.
That includes the busy Roosevelt Boulevard. But officials say reducing speeds and encouraging people to use SEPTA instead of a car will decrease traffic deaths.
“We’re in a bit of a waiting game because we need multiple years of data to come back and say, ‘Did we reduce actual crashes?” Yemen said.
The city is also working to better protect pedestrians by adding countdown times at more intersections, readjusting crosswalks and more.
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