Vision Zero is a traffic safety program started in Sweden in the 1990s that has recently come to the US and been adopted in Los Angeles. It is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe mobility.
Every year more than 200 people are killed due to traffic accidents in Los Angeles and it is the leading cause of children's deaths. The Vision Zero objective is to reduce that by twenty percent by the end of 2017 and to zero by 2025.
Vision Zero is starting by focusing on the areas with the worst incidences of people Killed or Severely Injured (KSI). The worst areas, shown in red, are in South Los Angeles. Our area, Southwest, is area 13 and 73 on the map. According to Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, more people are killed in District 8 by traffic accidents than homicides, 13 so far this year just in District 8.
View Video from Vision Zero Meeting at the Constituent Service Center in June 8, 2017.
The strategy is to make streets and intersections safer for pedestrians and bicyclists who are more likely to be killed in an accident than a driver who is protected by a vehicle. By improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety, everyone else on the road becomes safer.
In May and June 2017 the Vision Zero team held four meetings in South LA with an open house format. Display boards identified problem areas and possible interventions were available for attendees to peruse and provide input. Key streets in Southwest include Western and Florence.
Some of the available tools to improve safety include:
- Intersection tightening. This involves closing off the immediate area near a corner to car traffic by using paint or bumps, thereby giving the pedestrian more protected space during crossing.
- Speed feedback signs. These will be installed one sign per mile in each direction on each Priority Corridor in 2017.
- Leading pedestrian interval. This is when the intersection signals are timed to allow pedestrians a few second head start to cross the street before the traffic is allowed to proceed. This has reduced pedestrian vehicle collisions by as much as 60%.
- Dedicated bike lanes
- Adding Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons at crosswalks to increase visibility
- Bus stop relocation. Moves bus stop to after the traffic light encouraging pedestrians to cross behind the bus where they can be seen.
The image on the left shows ideas for Western Ave. Icons in green circles are Phase I items, while red circles indicate Phase II. Phase I calls for speed feedback signs, leading pedestrian intervals, and flashing red lights at selected crosswalks. Please note the little black circles near intersections, such as Western and Manchester, simply denote existing bus stops.
With the initial meetings complete, the Vision Zero team is compiling the feedback and preparing for a more formal public hearing process. These meetings will also be in an open house format with a public hearing officer on hand to officially record feedback.
The first meeting is scheduled for June 21, 5-7pm at the Ascot Library, 120 West Florence Ave. It will focus on Hoover, Main, Broadway and Avalon. It is possible that the first items will be implemented six weeks after that meeting. Stay tuned for notification regarding a formal public hearing for Western and Florence. The timeline calls for Phase I implementation summer of 2017 and implementation of Phase II January 2018.