Advocates behind the annual World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims want to make the impact of this year’s event last more than one day. They’ve coupled the usual demonstration and demands for action with a traffic safety pledge they want politicians to sign.
The World Day of Remembrance is backed by the World Health Organization and has been held in many cities around the world since it started in 1995. Portland’s edition has happened since 2015 and is led by the local chapter of Families for Safe Streets, a national nonprofit for survivors of traffic violence.
On Sunday, November 19th, Families for Safe Streets of Oregon & Washington will join with The Street Trust, Oregon Walks, and other nonprofit organizations for a walk that will begin at 11:30 am at Lloyd Center. Then at noon there will be a demonstration and rally at the plaza in front of Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
“This year, we are recognizing the epidemic of traffic violence affecting our communities statewide with a memorial walk which leads to an installation representing the lives lost in our community,” reads a statement about the event from The Street Trust.
Despite years of advocacy and attention on traffic violence, the number of people who are killed and injured using roads in the Portland region continues to climb. So far this year there have been 60 traffic-related fatalities in Portland — a troubling toll also reflected statewide that marks a major trend upward in the past decade.
To help garner more support for changes and reforms that would reverse this trend, advocacy groups have released a “Traffic Safety Pledge for Oregon’s Leaders & Decision Makers.” The pledge spells out the crisis and details the consequences of dangerous streets in detail. It then asks officials to make the following seven commitments:
- Reverse racial inequalities and barriers to safe streets, focusing on marginalized communities that have been disporportionately affected by transportation decisions.
- Understand and educate the public about the significance of road fatalities, treating each loss of life with the same concern and outrage as any other type of death in our community.
- Use precise language that attributes agency and employs the active voice when discussing fatal crashes, emphasizing accountability.
- Prioritize the safety of all road users over vehicular speed and throughput, reflected in budget allocations, policy decisions, budgets, and spending.
- Champion measures such as lowering speed limits, enhancing street design and infrastructure (e.g., crosswalks), and limiting parking near intersections, especially in areas with vulnerable users like school zones.
- Reduce vehicle size – I recognize the correlation between larger vehicle size and road safety issues, and will promote safer, cleaner, and more sustainable transportation options while discouraging heavier, deadlier vehicles.
- Advocate for equitable traffic laws and enforcement, supporting comprehensive Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE) initiatives with progressively assessed fines, and dedicating revenues to enhance safety and accessibility in our transportation system.
The list of signers and any comments they wish to share will be presented to the public at the event on Sunday the 19th.
Organizers want attendees to wear yellow. Learn more and register for the event here.