To combat pedestrian deaths, group looks to bring ‘Vision Zero’ to Albuquerque

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Vision Zero

Albuquerque has a major problem when it comes to pedestrians being hit and killed by cars, now one group says it can tackle the problem so long as it has the mayor’s support.

A 12-year-old girl was struck and killed by a car last week near her middle school, but her death is only the latest example of a growing and harrowing problem in Albuquerque. 

Pedestrians are dying at an increasing rate, according to NMDOT.

While city leaders want to change the intersection where Justine Almuina recently died, the problem is all over town.

It’s why Lee Ann Ratzlaff, a member of the group Urban ABQ, is spearheading the effort to bring ‘Vision Zero’ to Albuquerque.

“We have been having this conversation for a long time. And with this most recent tragedy, we really saw that this was a good opportunity to kind of start something new and really bring attention to it,” Ratzlaff explained.

The project actually started in Sweden two decades ago and has since expanded to more than two dozen cities nationwide.

“‘Vision Zero’ has proven to be a very effective approach in many other cities to reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities,” Ratzlaff explained.

There’s no one-size-fits-all fix. ‘Vision Zero’ is tailored to each city — whether that’s reducing speed limits, installing crossing signals or doing educational campaigns, for example.

“That’s one of the first things we can do as a city to help reduce traffic injuries and fatalities, is just change some of the striping and make it so that cars aren’t going quite as fast,” she said.

To officially implement ‘Vision Zero’ in Albuquerque, Mayor Tim Keller has to commit to it, then a plan and time-frame are crafted, with city departments, like police and transit, on board.

The city sent KRQE News 13 a statement regarding ‘Vision Zero.’

“Mayor Keller is committed to working with Urban ABQ and has already had his team reach out to this group in an effort to improve safety across the city.

Meanwhile, Ratzlaff says Urban ABQ is trying to schedule a meeting with Mayor Keller about ‘Vision Zero.’ 

Urban ABQ is gathering Thursday night to further discuss its efforts. The group will meet at 6 p.m. at Duel Brewing, 606 Central Ave SW. 

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