Portland based walking advocacy group Oregon Walks has just released a statement following the death of two innocent people in the past two weeks — Thomas Gazzola and George Carlson — who were killed while walking on local streets.
Their statement, which is co-signed by 10 partner organizations and one individual (see full list below*), directly calls out Portland Mayor Charlie Hales saying, “We need action now… we must take bold steps immediately to protect those who walk on our street.”
“We call on our elected leaders to ensure we have a city where you can jog safely in your neighborhood, where you can walk across our beautiful bridges on a sunny day, and where you can be guaranteed to still have your life when you get to the other side.”
Oregon Walks’ is asking Mayor Hales and City Council is to set a date to meet the goal of “Vision Zero” by 2025. Oregon Walks co-authored a report on Vision Zero with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance that was published back in March.
As we reported yesterday, tomorrow City Council is set to adopt a goal to achieve Vision Zero — but the text of the current resolution lacks a date. Oregon Walks wants Hales and his four Council colleagues to commit to, “a goal of reaching zero road deaths by 2025,” a promise the non-profit says would match what Portland’s Bureau of Transportation has already put in writing.
In their two-year workplan released back in February, here’s how PBOT described their commitment to Vision Zero:
“PBOT aims to make our transportation system the safest possible and to move toward zero traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries in the next 10 years.”
To “move toward” a goal isn’t exactly a firm commitment; but at least it sets a timeline for actions.
Oregon Walks says that if Portland City Council makes a firm commitment to zero road deaths and injuries by 2025 it would be “huge” and would give them and other advocates a way to hold the city accountable.
“Through setting a date and commitment to meeting Vision Zero along with treating this epidemic with urgency,” Oregon Walks wrote in today’s statement, “this goal is possible.”
*Below is the list of the coalition joining Oregon Walks in calling for a firmer commitment to Vision Zero:
- Bicycle Transportation Alliance
- AARP Oregon
- Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon
- Upstream Public Health
- Safe Routes to School National Partnership – Pacific Northwest Community Cycling Center
- Oregon Public Health Institute
- SW Trails
- Oregon Environmental Council
- OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
- Kristi Finney-Dunn (mother of Dustin Finney, who was killed by a drunk driver while biking on SE Division in 2011).