America Walks Announces Road to Zero Communities
America Walks, in partnership with UNC Highway Safety Research Center, is excited to announce the participants of the Road to Zero program. The program will help selected communities assess, plan, and prioritize effective and context-sensitive safety treatments to reduce the growing numbers of pedestrian fatalities and injuries. Following a year of implementation, America Walks and its partners will share the results of the technical assistance and provide an outline of lessons learned and cultivate inspiration for other cities looking to address pedestrian safety. Read statements from the communities below.
The Safer Systems training by America Walks will get the right people in the same room to talk about pedestrian safety. By connecting key decision makers in Anchorage to coaching, national best practices, and access to a network of peers working to overcome similar hurdles, this training will pave the way for an important culture shift toward consistent protection for vulnerable users. Resources gained through this training will also enhance existing pedestrian safety efforts like our Non-Motorized Plan and Vision Zero Action Plan.
Little Rock, Arkansas
The City of Little Rock is proud to partner with America Walks and the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center in the Road to Zero Program. This partnership will improve pedestrian safety in Little Rock by providing professional development for City staff and other stakeholders, facilitating peer-to-peer idea exchanges with similar participating cities, and creating a pedestrian safety plan informed by national best practices but targeted to local needs.
The Road to Zero Program will assist Watsonville with development and implementation of a Vision Zero Action Plan that addresses the following:
- Eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries on City streets by 2030;
- Assemble representatives of various agencies and community members to develop an Action Plan within one year;
- Change behavior through encouragement, education, enforcement, evaluation, engineering and equity;
- Gather, analyze, utilize and share data to understand traffic safety issues, prioritize resources, and track the success of these efforts;
- Prioritize development of safe roadways for all road users through policies, systems and infrastructure improvements.
Grand Junction, Colorado
The Grand Valley (GV) is living in an exciting era. The diversification of the economy in this area is attracting companies and population to the valley. To better serve its people, each city project is planned, designed, constructed, operated, and maintained to support safe, efficient and convenient mobility for all roadway users regardless of age or ability. In addition to this, the county, the city, and the Colorado Mesa University have engaged in a project with the guidance of America Walks and the University of North Carolina to identify and address pedestrian safety issues in our area.
Pueblo is already much more active than many communities in Colorado and around the nation, however, there are many reasons for Pueblo to continue to invest in active transportation infrastructure and programs. Pueblo possesses many desirable traits that support biking and walking such as an active population, terrific access to public lands, a bustling school system, and striking downtown. By focusing on improving bicycling and walking conditions while simultaneously educating and encouraging residents to utilize active transportation and transit, Pueblo is positioned to become a national leader for communities its size.
Participation by the City of Gainesville in the Road to Zero program dovetails nicely with other efforts that are currently underway in the community. The City recently adopted a Vision Zero ordinance and is working on an update to the local ADA Transition Plan. The newly-formed Department of Mobility is designed to ensure that all transportation systems are coordinated and function together in effective and efficient ways. Even before these efforts, for many years the City has planned and built facilities that enhance safety and convenience for pedestrians, including an interconnected system of over 60 miles of multi-use trails.
There are still many challenges to creating the best walking and biking environment in Gainesville. Road to Zero is seen as a great opportunity to further the City’s goal to continue improving safety for vulnerable users, and to share experiences and ideas with like-minded communities around the country. The City is partnering with Gainesville Citizens for Active Transportation in this effort.
The City of Flint and Crim Fitness Foundation are proud to partner with America Walks on its Road to Zero program. Through this program, city staff and walking advocates will learn new best practices that can be used to slow traffic, reduce pedestrian injuries and encourage residents to walk and bike more often. In a city with a car culture so strong that it has been nicknamed “Vehicle City”, community advocates and city staff will work together to create a demonstration project that will be little to no risk to implement. The demonstration project will be used to collect data about the effectiveness of traffic calming techniques and highlight the need for permanent interventions.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The Town of Chapel Hill will use the Road to Zero program to launch its first townwide inter-agency, multi-disciplinary pedestrian safety committee. This committee is forming to develop the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, and will be sustained after the Road to Zero program ends in order to implement Plan. This committee will be comprised of representatives from the Town government, County government, University, school district, social services, and others. While the Town of Chapel Hill is leading this effort, we hope to learn best practices and recommendations for keeping this committee engaged, motivated, and effective going forward.
East Providence, Rhode Island
While there are great places to walk in East Providence, large portions of the city lack sidewalks and other pedestrian infrastructure. High speed and traffic volume cause an unsafe feeling even while on sidewalks. In the past ten years, there were 227 crashes involving pedestrians, including one fatality in 2017. Planning efforts to address this include a mapped inventory of sidewalks to prioritize areas for expanding the sidewalk network and creating better linkages. This program is a great opportunity to learn from peer cities, exchange ideas, and incorporate best practices into this work, as we develop a pedestrian safety plan and identify policy recommendations and changes to the built environment to create safer, more walkable neighborhoods in our city.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
The City of Myrtle Beach will use the Road to Zero program to learn ways of improving pedestrian safety in our community. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, appointed by City Council and staffed by Diane Moskow-McKenzie and Kelly Mezzapelle, has been charged with improving pedestrian and bicycle safety in the city. The Committee working with all City departments and the community will incorporate all safety measures in the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan and day-to-day operations to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents and fatalities with an ultimate goal of zero accidents and deaths.
Traffic fatalities in Richmond have risen steadily over the last four years, at a higher rate than neighboring Virginia cities. These incidents are clustered in denser areas of the city and impact those who rely more heavily on public and active transport to get around. For these reasons, Richmond’s low-income residents and communities of color are disproportionately burdened with traffic-related injuries and fatalities, yet the city does not currently have an equitable framework for ranking and prioritizing bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements.
With the updating of our comprehensive plan, the recent support of Vision Zero and Complete Streets initiatives, and increased collaboration between municipal agencies, Richmond is in a unique position to address walkability and transportation equity. This program will help establish long-term goals for traffic safety improvements as reflected in the city’s updated plans, guide further collaboration among government entities and community groups, and structure the potential development of a framework for prioritizing projects and areas of concern.