Columbus launches ‘Vision Zero’ to reduce traffic crashes


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The new “Vision Zero” plan launched Tuesday morning.

“The goal of Vision Zero is to get to zero serious and fatal crashes by 2035 in Columbus,” said Jennifer Gallagher, Director of Public Service for the City of Columbus.

According to Gallagher, 50 people die each year as a result of traffic crashes in the city with hundreds more injured.

That’s where Vision Zero comes in.

“We’re going to focus on these streets where we’re losing too many of our neighbors, whether they’re on foot, by car or on bicycles,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther.

By collecting and analyzing years’ worth of data on those crashes, the city has identified several hotspots where crashes are more likely to occur.

“65 percent of the most dangerous crashes in this community take place on 10-percent of our streets. These streets tend to be multi-lane roadways with fast moving traffic,” Ginther said. “A lot of our infrastructure decisions in the last 50-75 years have been based primarily in what was in the best interest in cars and vehicles, what was the best way to get people from point A to point B quickly and efficiently. Well, that’s not really the way you want to design a community, particularly a growing community where there’s going to be more density, more people.”

That’s why one of the first Vision Zero initiatives would reduce speeds downtown to just 25 miles per hour.

“We will start getting a consultant onboard for that immediately. We will start doing software outreach and analysis immediately,” Gallagher said.

“Changing the way our roads are built and designed but also improving access for pedestrians and bicyclists and transit users,” said Maria Cantrell, Vision Zero Coordinator for the City of Columbus.

As improvements are hopefully seen, the Vision Zero plan will be adjusted as needed.

”Our vision zero plan is a two-year plan so we hope to implement all our strategies in two years and then we will have another vision zero plan after that for several more years,” Gallagher said.

“We’re going to always be looking to update our data to make sure we focus our efforts where most of these worst crashes are occurring,” said Cantrell.

“It’s exciting to make a change and hopefully save some lives out there.”

The city will hold a virtual meeting for the community to weigh in on the plan Thursday night at five.

If you’d like to read the plan or see that interactive map with the crash data, click here.

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