Dozens of communities across the country have committed to a vision of the future with zero traffic deaths, i.e. Vision Zero. It’s an ambitious goal worth pursuing — achieving it would save thousands of lives each year. The Vision Zero program looks to take 50 years to accomplish the goal of zero traffic deaths.

Unfortunately, while some cities have made progress, results thus far are more mixed. Nationwide, people — especially vulnerable people walking and biking — keep getting killed in record numbers. Why? Not enough is being done to change the design of our streets.

The Complete Streets Act of 2019 could begin changing that by dedicating federal funds to creating streets that are safe for all users.

Many cities deploy some combination of beefed-up traffic enforcement and educational campaigns with some new policy changes (like lowering the speed limit) to try saving lives.

We applaud these efforts, but much more needs to be done to design streets that enhance lives. In every situation a person might fail, the road system should not. We need to design streets that make sure our inevitable failures aren’t fatal.

Why repave a road designed for the 1950s when safety should first be included in 2020?

This is a serious issue in Kirkwood, and city council can take action to create safer streets by passing a Complete Streets Ordinance (not a short lived policy). We’ll never achieve a future with zero traffic fatalities if we don’t tackle dangerous street designs.

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