Earlier this week, Transportation for America released a sobering report,“Dangerous by Design”, that shows that over 47,700 pedestrians were killed between 2000 and 2009. These preventable deaths are in large part due to the many hazards and short-comings in street design.
Congress has an opportunity to address this issue in the upcoming transportation reauthorization bill by advancing new policies and by protecting dedicated funding for programs, like Transportation Enhancements and the Safe Routes to School program, that help make improvements to our streets.
LCV, along with the many partners in the Transportation for America coalition, are supporting legislation that would increase requirements that streets are designed to meet the needs of all users – pedestrians, cyclists, public transit riders, children, the elderly and those with disabilities – not just cars. This legislation, recently introduced by Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Steve LaTourette (R-OH), H.R. 1780 “The Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2011,” builds on these same “complete streets” improvements that over 200 local municipalities and 23 states have already set underway.
By improving streets to make them safer, we can give individuals the option to drive less and use cleaner modes of transportation. With less people driving, communities will be able to reduce their dependence on foreign oil, save money at the pump, and reduce global warming pollution. In addition, giving people the confidence to take advantage of walking or bicycling more often could help lead to better long term health.
How can you help? You can start by reading the Transportation for America Partners’ updated report and educating yourself on why we need complete and safe streets. Then you should contact your Representative in Congress and tell them to support HR 1780, “The Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2011”.
Representatives Matsui and LaTourette should be applauded for introducing legislation that would improve thousands of communities and as a result, improve the lives of millions, through street improvements that are desperately needed and long overdue.