At long last, the City of Chicago has released its Vision Zero Chicago plan. The city thus joins New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and a number of other cities around the world in developing such a plan.
The near term goal of Vision Zero Chicago is to reduce traffic accidents by 20 percent and traffic fatalities by 35 percent by 2020. Ultimately, the plan seeks to entirely eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2026. These are certainly ambitious goals – and worthy ones too, considering the fact that traffic accidents in Chicago result in more than 2,000 serious injuries* and about 100 or more deaths each year.
How Will Vision Zero Chicago Work?
Vision Zero Chicago has four goals:
- Invest in communities most severely affected by traffic accidents
- Build a “culture of safety” by changing behaviors
- Make streets safe for all users
- Implement policies, training, and technologies designed to reduce the number of crashes
After conducting intensive data collection and analysis, city officials have finally developed an implementation plan. It focuses on 43 high crash corridors and eight high crash areas throughout the city. The initial pilot program will begin this summer in the Garfield Park and Austin neighborhoods on the West Side.
The most visible aspects of the plan will entail improvements to 300 intersections to make them safer for pedestrians, the building of curb “bump outs” to reduce the distance pedestrians have to traverse streets, “refuge islands” in the middle of heavily used arterial streets, and improvements to transit stations. In addition, large vehicles will be required to install convex mirrors and side guards to prevent bicyclists and pedestrians from being dragged under vehicles.
Vision Zero Chicago Will Benefit Everyone
Traffic accidents are a heavy burden on all Chicagoans, but that burden tends to fall most heavily on the elderly and disadvantaged. For example, Chicagoans living in areas of high economic hardship die in traffic accidents at a much higher rate than those living in better off neighborhoods. And African-American Chicagoans are more than twice as likely to die in traffic accidents than white Chicagoans.
Until that time when traffic crashes are completely eliminated, accident victims will continue to suffer physically, financially and emotionally. If you or a loved one has been harmed in an accident, you may be able to claim compensation for your losses and suffering. You should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney concerning your legal options.