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On average two people Severely injured or killed in a weekly car accident on the streets of Auckland. Our brothers, sisters, grandparents, cousins, parents and friends are dying from something we can prevent. The OakDOT Department of Transportation (OakDOT) was created five years ago in part to bring these numbers down, but the level of carnage continues even though Oakland has committed. “Zero vision“, A plan to eliminate the dead as a result of the movement.
The solutions that can make our streets safer also happen to make our communities more egalitarian, sustainable and prosperous; The question is whether the city of Oakland and OakDOT have the desire to protect us. Based on the way Auckland faces so many of our other troubling challenges, I’m not optimistic that Auckland will ever be a city of zero vision.
For example, the Oakland Department of Transportation “Toolbox“Maintain the safety of pedestrians, bus riders and cyclists including only paint and plastic cones. Who do you think will win? General Motors’ An electric hammer weighing 9,000 pounds Or your 120-pound grandmother waiting to cross the street behind a pound-of-pound plastic cone?
OakDOT should focus not only “Quick responsesBut effective responses to movement violence. It requires physical barriers between cars and vulnerable road users, plus consistent traffic enforcement against the most blatant violators. Unfortunately, OakDOT and the Oakland City Council seem unable to do any of these things.
Even when they are pouring money into equity projects, OakDOT provides projects Years late And with minimal protections for the most vulnerable road users. Just in recent projects completed or in the planning stages in my Clinton neighborhood, OakDOT has created nearly five miles of bike paths but they still depend on color; nobody From them to physically protect Cyclists M dangerous Or inattentive drivers.
How can we encourage more people to travel on foot, by bike or by bus if you take your life into your own hands whenever you choose not to drive?
Finally, although Auckland has made sustained but significant progress in reduction Discretion and bias Police Stops Over the past five years, the municipality decided last year in fact Stop all traffic enforcement. While OPD and enforcement are four-letter words in some circles, Research Shows that the certainty of punishment is a much more effective deterrent than the severity of punishment.
When a ticket in Auckland costs only $ 41 for Bicycle lane obstruction With your car, are perceived perceptions of social equality outweighing the value of saving lives? Is saving $ 2 million a year in overtime by the police worth the cost Dismantling our traffic enforcement And the Sideshow enforcement units, in addition to eliminating the two positions responsible for investigating 30 traffic deaths in the city a year?
These are all tough questions Oakland needs to ask itself when 25 percent of fatal accidents Are caused as a result of speeding and 33 percent of deaths and serious injuries to pedestrians are caused by drivers refusing to surrender at crossings.
In other words, does Auckland want to be a visionary city of zero or does it just want to talk about it?
Ryan Lester is a Zero Passion and Vision supporter, a longtime Oakland resident, and most recently served as co-chair of the City’s Public Safety Task Force.