On October 26, 2016, the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) hosted its first Vision Zero workshop at Ragan Park Community Center in Tampa. “We want people to know what Vision Zero is and recognize it,” said Gena Torres, an Executive Planner for the MPO. The Vision Zero movement began in Sweden and has since spread to many U.S. cities, including New York, Seattle, Austin, San Diego, and Washington, DC.
The Hillsborough County MPO adopted a Vision Zero policy early this year to stop traffic deaths in our county, cities, and neighborhoods. “At the core of the worldwide Vision Zero movement is the belief that death and injury on city streets is preventable – in other words, that these aren’t ‘accidents’ ” the MPO’s website reads. The workshop was dedicated to action planning and was organized around four action tracks: “Paint Saves Lives”, “One Message, Many Voices”, “Consistent and Fair”, and “The Future Will Not be Like the Past”. Around fifty people attended the workshop, and joined with one of the four breakout groups as engineers, planners, police officers, college students, educators, and local citizens worked together to make a change.
The “Paint Saves Lives” group brainstormed quick ways to fix locations with safety issues while long term planning is in-process. The “One Message, Many Voices” group talked about how to get the Vision Zero message out. For instance, storytelling would give crash victims and their family members a way to be heard. The “Consistent and Fair” group discussed ways in which law enforcement and police officers have the potential to be allies and safety advocates by giving warnings rather than tickets. The final group, “The Future Will Not be Like the Past”, looked at long term design standards that adapt current infrastructure to a changing culture of transportation.
As the workshop came to a close, Beth Alden, the MPO’s Executive Director, thanked everyone for coming and emphasized the importance of continuing to work together. “We have opportunities to make this a community wide effort,” she said. Click here to read more about Hillsborough County’s Vision Zero plan, and make comments on an interactive map!