On Tuesday, November 19, 2019 the City of St. Petersburg, in collaboration with Pedal Power Promoters, hosted an invitation-only luncheon featuring keynote, Leah Shahum, Founder and Director of Vision Zero Network. The city invited local businesses who have been certified as Bicycle FriendlyTM by the League of American Bicyclists as well as Complete Streets Committee members. The program was very well attended, with more than 30 advocates and stakeholders participating in the presentation and interactive discussion that followed.
During the presentation, Ms. Shahum explained Vision Zero Network’s approach is to reengineer streets to make them safer for those who are walking and bicycling. The idea behind Vision Zero is specifically to prevent fatalities when a crash involving a vehicle and a vulnerable user does occur. This concept is by no means new––perhaps the most noteworthy component in Vision Zero Network’s philosophy is its acknowledgement that people, no matter how well intended, will make mistakes and to use engineering to help reduce the severity of injuries when unsafe situations do arise.
Although St. Petersburg has not specifically adopted a Vision Zero plan, Vision Zero Network’s overall approach dovetails well with the Complete Streets Implementation Plan the city adopted earlier in 2019.