Portland adopts Vision Zero plan to make streets safer

Officials want to see traffic deaths completely eliminated within ten years

Portland's Bureau of Transportation has set itself an ambitious goal: zero traffic deaths by 2025. The plan, called Vision Zero, is similar to other plans adopted by cities like New York and San Francisco. According to OPB News, Vision Zero includes a number of safety measures that will make the streets safer and should lead to fewer fatal pedestrian accidents, such as lower speed limits, red light cameras, and redesigned roads and intersections.

Portland's Vision Zero

Vision Zero is becoming an increasingly popular plan for many U.S. cities hoping to reduce pedestrian and overall traffic deaths. New York, San Francisco, and Seattle have all announced similar plans to eliminate traffic deaths within a certain time frame. According to the Oregonian, 28 people were killed in traffic accidents last year in the city. The average number of annual traffic fatalities in the city is around 37.

Lower speed limits are a big focus of many Vision Zero plans, including Portland's. While a difference of 10 mph may not sound like much to motorists, it can mean the difference between life and death for pedestrians. Pedestrians have a survival rate of 95 percent if they are hit by a car traveling 25 mph, whereas that survival rate drops to 50 percent if the vehicle is going 35 mph.

Other safety measures

The Bureau of Transportation, however, is focused on more than just speed limits to lower fatalities. Road design will also play a big role in increasing safety for pedestrians and motorists. Four-lane roadways will be reconfigured, for example, to encourage drivers to slow down. Red light cameras may also be increasingly relied upon to discourage dangerous driving behaviors.

The city is also hoping to make roadways safer for bicyclists. The plan includes a proposal to have a dedicated bike lane within half a mile of almost every Portland home. Such a plan would not only protect bicyclists, but it would also encourage people to commute to work via bicycle rather than car, further improving traffic and safety for everybody. Currently, about 60 percent of homes in the city are within half a mile of a bike lane.

Representation for victims

Portland's goal of eliminating traffic deaths is laudable, but unfortunately road dangers are unlikely to disappear anytime soon. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists must all be aware of their surroundings, especially given the presence of dangerous and negligent drivers.

When an accident does happen, victims should get in touch with a personal injury attorney immediately. Time is often of the essence when it comes to protecting the rights of accident victims. An experienced attorney can help ensure accident victims' rights are respected and that he or she is able to deal with the many challenges that may present themselves following an accident.