Portlander Lois Leveen has published an opinion piece in The Oregonian that calls on local officials to get serious about what she feels is the root cause of our traffic safety crisis: drivers of motor vehicles.
“I love living in Portland. But I’m fed up with having my safety threatened every time I leave my home,” Leveen writes in an op-ed published Sunday.
Leveen is an author and health humanities expert who’s no stranger to elevating her voice for safe streets advocacy. You might recall her participation in the counter protest to Commissioner Mingus Mapps’ press conference back in August. At that event, in the plaza outside City Hall, Leveen repeatedly shouted down Mapps and other speakers.
Her opinion piece attempts to make the case that the real danger on our roads is not just drivers of cars, but the cars themselves. “Pedestrians and bicyclists are often perceived as those most vulnerable to death or injury at the hands of motorists, leading people to believe they are safest in a motor vehicle. Yet 32 of this year’s 49 deaths have been motor vehicle drivers or passengers,” Leveen writes.
As a remedy to what she refers to as, “vehicular violence,” Leveen says transportation leaders and elected officials should work together to ban right turns on red, create a citywide 20 mph speed limit, prohibit car parking at intersections to improve visibility, and use more automated enforcement cameras.
“If Portland is able to reconfigure streets to increase restaurants’ revenue with on-street dining spaces, surely we can reconfigure them to ensure public safety,” Leveen writes in the final sentence. Read the full opinion piece on The Oregonian’s website.