There’s a new mission to eliminate pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities in the city of Albuquerque. Friday, the new “Vision Zero” project was introduced.
“Vision Zero is about extending everything from sidewalks, crosswalks, roads, bike lanes, and awareness to reduce pedestrian casualties, fatalities, the things like this in our city. It’s a national program that we’re proud to be starting today,” says Mayor Tim Keller.
Bicyclist Dan Lucero says the speeders on Bicycle Boulevard are problematic.
“Eighteen mph speed limit sign and it’s really heavily used, and it’s a great route and it seems like people either drive 18 or 36,” Lucero says.
Distracted drivers around town make cyclists even more vulnerable.
“You’re out riding around you see people staring at their phones, you see it when you’re driving around, and being on the road with people on their phones seems more dangerous,” Lucero says.
Both are reasons he and others have started avoiding Albuquerque roads.
“If you want to go somewhere in Albuquerque there is some stretch of the route that’s dangerous, even if 90 percent of the route is safe,” says Tom Hussey.
In recent years, the number of pedestrian deaths has increased nationwide. New Mexico had the highest rate of pedestrian deaths in the country and 34 pedestrians were killed in Albuquerque last year.
“It is almost impossible in parts of our city to cross the street,” says Mayor Tim Keller.
Now, the city is working to eventually get that number down to zero.
“It’s not ok for anyone to die on our streets,” says Vision Zero ABQ representative Terra Reed.
Friday, Mayor Keller and other city leaders signed the Vision Zero pledge, kicking off a year of planning to identify what changes would make their goal a reality.
“We’ll be going out to the community in areas where we see the most crashes and talk to people about what would make those intersections safer,” Reed says.
Lucero hopes enforcement is a big part of their action plan.
“I always wondered why we just don’t park a police [officer] right there once in a while. It seems like every other car would just get pulled over for doubling the speed limit,” Lucero says.
City leaders say it’s an effort that might take decades, but they are committed to getting it right.
“Wider sidewalks, more crosswalks things like that,” Reed says.
On Monday, a new complete streets ordinance will be introduced to the city council. It focuses on transportation access in low-income neighborhoods.
City leaders announced the change for National Ride Your Bike to Work Day. They plan to make the changes over the next year.