Philadelphia Vision Zero Alliance
Shortly after the election of Mayor Jim Kenney, the Bicycle Coalition and other like-minded partners, including AARP PA, AAA Mid-Atlantic, the African American Chamber of Commerce, Arcadia Land Company, 5th Square, Feet First Philly, Public Health Management Corporation, Clean Air Council, Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, Run215, American Health Association, Center City District, Jefferson University, University City District, Greater Philadelphia Realtors Association, Stuart Leon Law, Philadelphia Parks Alliance, Piscitello Law, Hace, Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance, Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, Solnick & Associates, Uber, and Lyft, created Philadelphia’s first official Vision Zero Alliance.
Together, Alliance supports a comprehensive Vision Zero strategy in Philadelphia, and provides input to city government officials working on implementing Vision Zero strategies.
Vision Zero does not consist of one solution. Scroll down to learn about the various solutions the Vision Zero Alliance is working toward for the city of Philadelphia.
Vision Zero PHL Statement
Traffic crashes are a public health crisis in Philadelphia. The Vision Zero Alliance encourages groups and individuals to join the cause by calling on Mayor Jim Kenney to make Philadelphia safer and healthier through a comprehensive Vision Zero strategy.
The goal of Vision Zero is to dramatically reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes that occur in Philadelphia each year, with a long term goal of eventually eliminating all traffic deaths. Vision Zero policies aim to make all road users feel safe and comfortable using the street.
The Vision Zero Alliance believes traffic crashes must never be considered inevitable and offers to assist the Mayor in delivering on his campaign promise to set target goals and achieve substantive reductions in the number of deaths and severe crashes experienced on city streets.
The Alliance wants to encourage strategies that reduce impaired and aggressive driving as well as speeding using smart design and a robust education campaign that target all neighborhoods and road users. Whether someone is young or old, experienced or not or have a disability all streets must be safe and accessible.
RESPECT HUMAN DIGNITY: Philadelphia’s Vision Zero plan must create roadways where people can travel with dignity. Education must come before enforcement and enforcement should be used primarily to advance traffic safety and protect neighborhoods from dangerous driving behaviors that result in injuries and fatalities. Vision Zero must alter the public’s mindset that traffic deaths are inevitable and empower communities to fix dangerous conditions.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION COMES FIRST: Implementing Vision Zero strategies must start with robust community engagement that informs the plan’s entire process and prioritizes the specific concerns and needs of each community. The community perspective must drive the changes in infrastructure, inform the tone of education and guide enforcement strategies.
USE DATA TO ADVANCE SAFETY AND EQUITY: Crash and injury data must help identify and prioritize corridor and intersection and community improvements to protect the most vulnerable road users. Equity, including demographics, risk factors, traffic enforcement data and infrastructure gaps must be used to guide the Vision Zero plan to prioritize specific concerns of each community.
SET TARGET GOALS AND DATES: The plan must establish clear and measurable objectives for reducing traffic fatalities and severe injuries and set timelines for implementation. Progress must be publicly communicated annually and success measured by the level of investment in communities of concern, with priority on equity outcomes and safety metrics.
FUND VISION ZERO PROGRAM: There must be dedicated sources of funding in the City’s capital and operating budgets to support Vision Zero’s engineering, education and enforcement strategies. Adopting the Vision Zero name, a nationally recognized movement used in twelve other major US cities, will leverage public support for dedicated funding streams the programs goals.
A ten-year extension of Pennsylvania’s Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) Program was signed by Governor Wolf in spring 2016 after months of advocacy conducted by the Bicycle Coalition, Neighborhood Bike Works, the Morris Family, and others. The new law will keep the city’s 27 red light camera locations running for the next ten years, keeping our streets safer, and bringing more money to Philadelphia and other municipalities for safety programs.
We will continue to advocate for more red light enforcement cameras around Philadelphia. Red light cameras have been proven to make intersections safer for all road users, reducing fatal crashes.
ARLE is an important project, not just because of the money it generates for improvement projects, but because of the overarching goal: That there will eventually be no money gathered from the program once all drivers follow all the laws of the road.
The extension of the red light camera bill, and ARLE, was a big win for the people of Philadelphia, and of Pennsylvania. And it’s worth considering bills like this don’t just pass on their own.
The effort behind this particular legislation was, unfortunately, fueled by a tragedy.
It began in 2016, when 27-year-old Philadelphia engineer Jamal Morris was tragically killed while riding his bicycle on Market Street in West Philadelphia. The driver fled the scene and still has not been found. His family has been working with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and others, to prevent more cyclists from losing their lives in traffic.
In addition to red light cameras in Philadelphia, the Vision Zero Alliance continued to push for speed cameras in areas that need them — specifically on Roosevelt Boulevard, and that push was realized in Fall 2018 when the state Legislature legalized speed cameras along the Boulevard, a huge win for the city’s Vision Zero policy.
The Vision Zero Alliance and State Representative John Taylor held a hearing on his Speed Camera Bill for Roosevelt Boulevard in September, 2016, where several members of the Philadelphia community testified and offered information about the legislation. Since then, we’ve continually advocated for speed cameras for Roosevelt Boulevard in order to make Philadelphia’s streets safer.
In 2018, the Vision Zero Alliance hired a lobbyist to work on our behalf in the state Capitol, working with legislators to pass a comprehensive automated enforcement bill that will make Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia a safer place. Unfortunately, during the first six months of 2018, without the speed camera legislation in effect, traffic deaths along Roosevelt Boulevard have doubled. This no-brainer technology cannot be brought to Philadelphia soon enough.
For Vision Zero to work, we all must treat our streets with respect. That’s why the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia unveiled the Bike Nice Campaign in Summer 2016.
Through an online and electronic billboard campaign in Dilworth Park, the Bicycle Coalition is showing the Greater Philadelphia community why we bike responsibly, and why we all should do so.
The Bicycle Coalition has created Philadelphia’s first website to track all traffic fatalities in the city.
Unveiled in Fall 2016, this website puts the statistics and information available to every victim who needlessly loses their life due to traffic violence. The Vision Zero Alliance is the only organization in the City of Philadelphia to keep a public record of traffic victims.
Protected Bike Lanes
Protected bike lanes are a part of any Vision Zero strategy. Bike lanes with a physical barrier between the cyclist and motor vehicle traffic have been proven to get more people on bicycles, freeing up traffic and creating a safer space for all road users. The Vision Zero Alliance has advocated for at least 30 miles of protected bike lanes on Philadelphia’s streets during Mayor Jim Kenney’s tenure, which the mayor agreed to before coming into office.
Since coming into office, however, movement on protected bike lanes has not come fast enough for Philadelphia’s cyclists and those interested in riding a bicycle for transportation. The Vision Zero Alliance and supporters. Protected bike lanes have been installed on West Chestnut Street, Ryan Avenue, JFK, and Market Street since Mayor Kenney came into office, with JFK and Market Streets being 9-month pilot projects. Protected lanes have similarly been planned and/or are being constructed on American Street, Race Street, and Parkside Avenue.
Protected bike lanes are the bicycle infrastructure of the future and many of Philadelphia’s streets — including Erie Avenue, Allegheny, 5th Street, 2nd Street, Academy Road, Chestnut Street to Cobbs Creek, West Walnut Street, and plenty of others — are wide enough for protected bike lanes now.
The Bicycle Coalition has put together a map of where protected bike lanes should be installed here.