What’s the latest with Vision Zero?

With the Pathways to Vision Zero Summit coming up later this month, we wanted to take stock of where things stand with the Vision Zero efforts in Kansas City.

What is Vision Zero?
Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all, according to the Vision Zero Network. Traffic violence is a public health crisis, and Vision Zero seeks to treat the epidemic of crashes in an epidemiological manner, with a focus on several key fronts:

  • Equity
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Evaluation

It’s also important to note that in the wake of racial unrest caused by the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others, the Vision Zero Network has worked to remove Enforcement as one of the key pillars of the approach. This is intended to move communities away from strategies that could disproportionately harm Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC), but to also place an emphasis on other strategies which rely more on existing community engagement and resources.

How did BikeWalkKC advance Vision Zero in KCMO?
BikeWalkKC has been one of the leading advocates for Vision Zero in Kansas City and have worked to build the necessary support that would lead to action. This includes:

Advocating for the adoption of a Vision Zero resolution
Once the election results were finalized, we went to work on informing the community and building the coalition necessary to successfully campaign for the adoption of a Vision Zero resolution. This included testimony from the families of victims and survivors of traffic violence as well as support from partner organizations such as LISC, KC Healthy Kids, Sunrise Movement KC, Paseo West Neighborhood Association, and others. In the midst of the pandemic, we also relied on the voices of residents like you who took the time to write and submit virtual testimony in support of the legislation.

The result? The City Council adopted a Vision Zero resolution on May 15, 2020.

Where do things stand now with Vision Zero?
Since the adoption of the resolution, BikeWalkKC has continued to work with our partners in KCMO to keep up the momentum and ensure the City makes a concrete commitment to eliminating traffic violence. These efforts include:

Participating in the Vision Zero Task Force
Section 3 of the adopted resolution called for the creation of a Vision Zero Task Force, whose purpose is “to create and implement a Vision Zero Action Plan to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries to zero by 2030.” BikeWalkKC is serving on this task force along with a host of city staff and community stakeholders. We’re on a tight schedule: the resolution directs the City Manager to present the Action Plan to City Council by December 1 of this year.

Participating in the Vision Zero Summit
MARC has also been working to promote Vision Zero as a strategy to curb traffic violence and fatalities. Much of that work will culminate in the Pathways to Vision Zero Summit from October 29 to November 19. BikeWalkKC will participate in some of the programming, and we’re excited to discuss the concept of Vision Zero with a broader audience.

Strategizing on ways to advance Vision Zero beyond KCMO
On the point about a broader audience, we also recognize that traffic violence is not something that is happening exclusively on the streets of KCMO. With partners such as the Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance, we seek to advance the conversation to other communities in the metro.

The work to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries is a major undertaking for any community to pursue. But with community partners and elected officials, BikeWalkKC continues to work to make streets safer for everyone.

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