At the same time 1,000 people were rallying for Vision Zero in the streets of New York City last night, Portland’s active transportation advocates and influencers were in a meeting learning about how our city plans to move forward on the issue.
Last month we shared what steps Mayor Charlie Hales and the Bureau of Transportation are taking to make good on their commitments to Vision Zero. And last night, PBOT’s Operations & Safety Manager Gabriel Graff, shared a presentation about Vision Zero with members of the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee.
It was a stark contrast: New York City is (once again) way ahead of us with their elected officials, advocates, agency leaders, victims, and concerned residents unified and out in the streets demanding changes and moving the conversation forward. While here in Portland, we’re sitting around a table in City Hall hearing about yet another task force, planning process, and more studies.
New York City formally adopted Vision Zero in 2014 with a goal to have zero deaths and injuries by 2024. That’s ten years from now. Portland City Council declined to set a date when they passed a Vision Zero resolution last month, with each council member giving a slightly different excuse as to why. Of course New York City has a “strong mayor” system where the city’s top elected official calls the shots and can make things happen unilaterally — unlike Portland where we take more of a majority-rules/consensus-based approach (and our Mayor isn’t even in charge of the transportation bureau). And of course New York City has a lot more funding to work with.
But I digress…
Graff’s 21-slide presentation was a Vision Zero primer. Most of it was a basic outline of what Vision Zero is and why it’s important for PBOT to focus on. The final two slides are the ones worth noting.
Graff shared a draft version of the specific indicators PBOT will use to measure their Vision Zero progress…
If PBOT monitors all of these things and openly shares the data at regular intervals, that would be a great step forward. To make progress on this stuff, we’ve got to first have a baseline.
And then there was the familiar flow-chart of how the planning process will play out. As you can see below, PBOT hopes to adopt the final Vision Zero Action Plan in October 2016 following a 16-month process that will kick off next month with a meeting of the Vision Zero Executive Committee and the Vision Zero Task Force (I’ve asked for the membership list of both groups and will update this post when I get it)…
I understand the need for an implementation plan, but it seems the whole idea of Vision Zero is to make changes immediately. After all, City Council and PBOT have already endorsed language saying that they won’t accept any further fatalities or serious injuries on our streets. It will be interesting to see what steps they are able to take before this plan is adopted 16 months from now.
Stay tuned. We plan to watch closely as PBOT continues to figure out how to integrate Vision Zero into their work.
NOTE: I did not make it clear enough in this story that this long-range plan is a multi-agency effort and that PBOT is working more immediately on the 17 Vision Zero action items included in their 2-Year Workplan.