The Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic fatalities centers around the “three e’s”, educating road users about safe driving and safe behavior, engineering safer streets, and enforcement of traffic laws by police officers. For several years, Vision Zero SF has been an ongoing plan in San Francisco to eliminate traffic deaths. Unfortunately, in 2015, 20 pedestrians died when hit by a vehicle. Five people were killed in Sas Francisco from February 2016 through February 2017. Thereafter, Mayor London Breed directed three city agencies to accelerate safety projects and increase enforcement.
Now another Bay Area city is adopting a Vision Zero policy to eliminate all transportation-related fatalities and severe injuries while improving safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all. The Vision Zero approach views transportation-related fatalities as preventable, not inevitable, relying on multi-disciplinary collaboration to achieve this goal.
On November 22, 2021, the Lafayette City Council, Contra Costa County, unanimously approved a resolution adopting a Vision Zero policy for the City of Lafayette. This approval followed a Vision Zero presentation to the Council on October 12, 2021, from Tim Haile, executive director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority. Lafayette Engineering and Public Works Director Mike Moran encouraged the Council to carefully consider costs of downtown improvements already planned that might reasonably be put on hold in order to consider the plan’s impact and staffing needs such as a transportation manager and traffic safety engineer to support the Vision Zero project.
Under a Vision Zero policy, safety measures would be implemented expeditiously by city staff. Addressing safety concerns for the most vulnerable users would take precedence over concerns about traffic congestion, aesthetics, and public opinion. Moran said the plan might, for example, reduce or eliminate on-street parking in a specific congested corridor in downtown to create a bikeway.
Although Vision Zero follows a standard format, the plan enacted in Lafayette can include specific details. Moran pointed to examples such as improvements the General Plan already outlines, such as improvements made near schools, increased connections between roadways and county trails, and more.
One City Council member predicted the city will have more residents living in Lafayette in the next eight years and said safety issues “will increase or continue unless active transportation modes are implemented,” calling Vision Zero a plan in which “we will all win.” State funding under the last Highway Safety Improvement cycle gave Danville and Moraga approximately $240,000 for improving bike and pedestrian safety. Drawing the link between grant funding and Vision Zero, it is economical and practical to implement the plan’s infrastructure changes that indisputably will come with costs.
The Vision Zero task force will include residents, such as a person involved with Lafayette schools or a representative from the senior community, and will be established by the professional consultant, with input from the city council and the transportation-circulation commission.
Personal Injury Trial Lawyer, Lew Van Blois who lives in Lafayette and has offices in Oakland, Walnut Creek, Stockton and San Jose has won many large verdicts and settlements for victims of traffic accidents. His web site is www.vanbloislaw.com.