In September 2015, the City of San Antonio launched Vision Zero, an initiative championed by City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5), with unanimous support from City leadership and elected officials. The purpose of Vision Zero is to educate pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists on the importance of traveling safely.
San Antonio recently struggled with an alarming number of traffic-related fatalities. In 2014, 54 people died while walking in San Antonio and 94% of those killed people 18 years or older, with the average age being 49. Seventy-four percent of those fatalities occurred between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
The City of San Antonio has created a plan, and strives for zero traffic related fatalities through the implementation of education, encouragement, engineering, enforcement and evaluation elements. New funding has been allocated to enhance engineering components, and community awareness has increased through educational outreach, billboards, messages on bus shelters and VIA buses traveling city wide.
Program enhancements have included $1 million toward pedestrian safety improvements for school zone upgrades and pavement markings in 2015, plus an additional $1 million for school zones in 2016. $15 million was allocated in 2016 to add new sidewalks, $10 million more than the typical budget amount of $5 million. Innovative tools such as overhead pedestrian flashing signals have been installed city wide, and Z-Crossings on streets such as Broadway, Culebra, and Commerce are also being constructed to further enhance pedestrian safety.
All of the various improvements being implemented complement past bond programs voters approved in 2007 and 2012, which are designed to enhance facilities for people who bike and walk. The City’s aggressive approach to Vision Zero is also an important part of the SA Tomorrow multi-modal transportation plan being developed with the community.
These projects and programs are recent, but the City has worked to improve the safety and quality of life for several years. In 2011, the City of San Antonio adopted a Complete Streets policy ensuring all future capital projects be assessed for multi-modal capabilities. The Safe Passing Ordinance was also passed, which is aimed at protecting vulnerable road users. In 2014, the Hands Free Ordinance was adopted preventing people from using their cell phone when operating a vehicle.
Most recently, San Antonio was named as a Vision Zero Emerging City by the Vision Zero Network.
“I am pleased and proud of San Antonio’s selection by Vision Zero Network as a member of the newly formed Vision Zero Emerging Cities program,” stated Gonzales. “City leaders, staff and our local partners are committed to eliminating traffic deaths and fatalities in San Antonio, and participation with peer cities will help us find the practical solutions to achieve that high goal.”
The City of San Antonio, along with transportation partnering agencies, is committed to enhancing safety in San Antonio because every person matters. Visit www.sanantonio.gov/tci/VisionZero to learn more about Vision Zero and www.satransportationplan.com to learn more about the SA Tomorrow multi-modal transportation plan.
*Top Image: The City is dedicated to improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists throughout San Antonio, including the Broadway Reach. Photo courtesy of the City of San Antonio.