02

Blog

Philadelphia Takes Vision Zero Seriously

Joe Reports On Best Practices

Piscitello Law – Bike Law PA is pleased to share highlights from the third annual Vision Zero conference, held March 17 in West Philadelphia.  The event was hosted by Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition and opening remarks by the Executive Director Sarah Clark Stuart encouraged 250 participants to “listen, learn and be inspired….”  

Mayor James Kenney set the tone in his keynote address by affirming his Administration’s commitment to bring traffic-related crashes in Philadelphia from 100 per year to 0 per year by 2030. He went on to announce a pilot project to address some of the core issues underlying traffic crashes including speed and street infrastructure. The nine-month pilot set to begin in the Spring of 2018 will involve Market and JFK Boulevard, between 15th and 20th streets. The current four lanes of traffic will be reduced to three as one lane will become a protected and dedicated cycling lane. This pilot is a huge victory for pedestrians of all ages and cyclists throughout the city. Data gathered from this pilot will inform future Vision Zero initiatives in Philadelphia.

Later in the morning, Attorney Joseph Piscitello led a panel discussion on Best Practices of Vision Zero in the United States and Europe. Drawing from his own personal and professional experience as a cyclist and attorney, Joe discussed the need for greater education and awareness of vulnerable road users by members of the legal community, including law enforcement and attorneys. He shared a cyclist’s video showing a bike-car crash when a motorist turned right without using a blinker or checking for cyclists. Many audience members were visibly shocked to learn that the legal system found the cyclist to be 50% responsible for the crash.

Joe proceeded to present each of the five speakers on the panel who touched on the core principles and best practices of Vision Zero, including Engineering, Education, Evaluation and Equity. The panel included two city council members; Helen Gym from Philadelphia and Mary Chey from Washington, D.C. Seated in 2016, Philadelphia’s City Council member Gym leads a new initiative to revitalize public transit in Philadelphia, bringing a focus on racial equity. She discussed a visit to Copenhagen to study their multi-modal transportation systems and noted the comprehensive shift of focus present in that city; from car-centric to people-centric.

Council member Mary Chey of Washington D.C. shared that her city has plans to eliminate traffic crashes to zero by 2024, which is an even more aggressive city plan than Philadelphia. Chey has served on the Council since 2007 and is currently Chair of the Committee on Transportation & the Environment. She spoke to her city’s extensive use of cameras to reduce speeding. Indeed, D.C. has red-light cameras, speeding cameras and even stop-sign cameras.

William Armbruster representing the AARP spoke to the issues surrounding transportation and aging members of our communities. Bill discussed mobility challenges facing older adults when crossing a multi-lane road within the time limit of a traffic light. According to his organization, many older adults fear for their safety on the road which leads to more time spent indoors, in isolation instead of staying involved in their community.  

The critical issue of science-based evaluation of transit initiatives was the focus of Steven Suggitt’s presentation. Steven is an executive of Miovision, a Canadian-based analytics company. The firm designs multi-modal transportation solutions using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning video analytics. He made a compelling argument on the merits of using motion-sensors in video surveillance on streets to better understand both “Compliance” and “Near Misses.”  Compliance monitoring captures data related to how well and how often road users follow the rules of the road. For example, their analytics can quantify the percentage of drivers and cyclists who run a red light or fail to yield to pedestrians/cyclists. Their system can also be used to capture data related to the “Near Misses” so that city planners have data to quantify the number of averted crashes.

Joe introduced David Shephard as the final panelist for the morning session. For David, safe transportation is not just a public policy issue, but is deeply personal. David created “Families for Safer Streets” in New York city after losing his Fiancée Sonya Powell to a speeding driver in 2009.  He presented how cities and families can “Turn Grief into Action” which underlies the compassionate work of his organization; to support families impacted by unsafe roads and to advocate for change. As David’s presentation concluded, there was a palpable energy in the room; we were reminded of the tragic cost of unsafe streets and the urgency to make change NOW.

Read Joe’s previous piece on the history of Vision Zero here. 

***

Photo Caption: L-R: Bill Armbruster (AARP); Steven Suggitt (Miovision); Joe Piscitello (Piscitello Law-Bike Law PA); Council member Mary Chey; Council member Helen Gym; David Shephard (Families for Safer Streets NYC).

 

Comments

Human Shield Bike Lane
Bruce Hagen Jul 29, 2019

If you ride bikes around Atlanta, chances are that you know Niklas Vollmer and Andreas Wolfe.  They’re some of the many people in town who seem to live on their bikes and can be seen riding everywhere.  While they both have their “day jobs,” folks in the cycling world know them for their place in […]

Read More
Bruce Hagen Jul 19, 2019

This is a time when advocacy efforts are crucial to making our streets safer for everyone. Within 24 hours from the Two Wheel Tuesday gathering we suffered two more casualties.  On Wednesday morning, Marten Bijvank was on his way to work on his bicycle when he was struck and killed by an unlicensed DUI driver […]

Read More
AJ's Bicycle Shop in Iowa
Jim Freeman Jul 15, 2019

Bicycling Magazine recently published an article titled, “Hey, Bike Shops; Stop Treating Customers Like Garbage.”  The story follows a heavy-set 59 year old’s sad tale of how he was treated poorly from a number of local bike shops.   First and foremost, I would be clear that bikes are for almost everyone.  If you are big, […]

Read More
Bike accident scene
Rick Bernardi Jul 12, 2019

The big bike news out of the Oregon legislature this year was the passage of a Stop as Yield law. This was an enormous legislative victory for Oregon cyclists, the culmination of over a decade of advocacy. But it wasn’t the only legislative victory for Oregon cyclists this legislative session. A less glamorous but equally […]

Read More
Uber Biking Escort
Charlie Thomas Jul 11, 2019

I often find myself wanting to ride on a roadway corridor that doesn’t want me there. At best, I could make it across alive with some close calls and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. At worst, I wouldn’t be around to write this blog post.  Of course, a safer, alternate route […]

Read More
Cycling Without Age Bike Law
Brian Weiss Jul 11, 2019

The founder of the Lakewood Bicycle Advisory Team loves his life on two wheels. Gary Harty was born in Bellows Falls, Vermont, and raised in Colorado – Denver Metro area, and now makes bicycling in Lakewood, Colorado safe and fun.  Gary is part of the baby boomer generation. He attended Colorado State University (CSU) and […]

Read More
Rachael Maney Bike Law
Rachael Maney Jul 10, 2019

Outrage.  It is what drives action and engagement on the interwebs these days. If it’s not outrageous, it’s boring. The Election of 2018 proved that outrage increases TOS (“time on site”) more than friendship, sympathy, desire, or anything else.  Judgment. By definition it is necessary to reach any conclusion about anything. But passing it on […]

Read More
Stop as Yield for Cyclists
Rick Bernardi Jul 09, 2019

The Oregon Legislature made national news this past week, for all the wrong reasons. The State Senate, with a super-majority of Democrats in control, had been working on climate legislation which would have Oregon join a cap-and-trade market with California and Quebec. Unable to stop the legislation, Republican Senators fled the state en masse, preventing […]

Read More
Bike Law Alps
Charlie Thomas Jul 07, 2019

It’s Tour de France time. I follow the racing daily through the footage on TV feed and still photos. But I hadn’t ever considered what’s happening on the other side of the camera lens. Like, what actually goes into snapping these pictures that we see documenting the Tour’s happenings? I started to care more about […]

Read More
E Bike and insurance
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Jul 01, 2019

Prologue  Last month, I rode across the Casco Bay Bridge to talk e-bikes and insurance with Bob O’Brien, the Vice President of Noyes, Hall and Allen Insurance in South Portland, Maine.  Although I have yet to invest in an e-bike for myself, I have been captivated by e-bikes and their potential to get and keep […]

Read More
Brooke Nelson
Danny Feldman Jul 01, 2019

Brooke Nelson has been the ride director of the Cheaha Challenge (www.cheahachallange.com) since shortly after the 2014 ride and in the past 5 years, ride participation has increased 188%.  Since 2017 when it became the only UCI Qualifier, Alabama’s biggest ride has become known nationally and internationally.  The 2019 ride had participants from 31 states […]

Read More
Joe Piscitello Jun 20, 2019

Thanks to some outstanding advocacy efforts, both the state of Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia have recently scored two important wins for cycling safety. Pennsylvania:  “Dutch Reach” in State Driver’s Manual The “Dutch Reach” method of opening a car door has finally been added to the State Driver’s Manual after many years of conversation. […]

Read More
Load More