Funding the Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus Amendment Act

On May 13th 2021, WABA testified at the D.C. Council Roundtable on “The Surge in Traffic Crashes, Fatalities, and injuries in the District and the urgent need to fully fund The Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus Amendment Act”.  Below is our testimony:

Good afternoon Councilmember Cheh and Members of the Committee,

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Hannah Neagle, and I am the Vision Zero Manager at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. I am submitting testimony on behalf of our 5,000 members in DC and across the region. 

Our mission is to empower people to ride bikes, build connections, and transform places. We envision a just and sustainable transportation system where walking, biking, and transit are the best ways to get around.

Yet the past few months, DC has experienced a deadly uptick in traffic violence. In the aftermath of these crashes, mothers have raised their voices for safer infrastructure, and friends of lost loved ones have protested the District government’s glacial and inadequate response to this crisis. Civic leaders have sent thousands of letters to Mayor Boswer, the Department of Transportation, and the DC Council asking for bold action to fix unsafe streets. 

Therefore, we strongly support fully funding and implementing the Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus Amendment Act of 2020. 

The bill has more than a dozen traffic safety provisions that align with DC’s Vision Zero goals. However, funding and implementing the bill is just a first step forward. It will take this action and many more like it to prevent death on our streets by 2024. 

While we are requesting full funding of the entire Act, we would like to highlight the following six key provisions. These must be fully funded in the upcoming budget and implemented without delay: 

  1. Sections 5 and 7 – Pass and implement MoveDC, Complete Streets and the mandatory protected bike/bus lanes requirements. 
  2. Section 3(a) – Create mandatory sidewalk and crosswalk construction with DDOT capital projects. 
  3. No Turn on Red – Prohibit right turns on red at 80% of signalized intersections where vulnerable road users are most likely to be. 
  4. Speed Limits – Lower speed limits on local and collector roads (~13% of DC streets) to 20mph to fall in line with the recent new default limit for unsigned streets and local streets. 
  5. Section 7(e) – Enhance Fatal Crash Response to inspect the site 30 days after a fatal crash, require DDOT to inspect site and publish interim design installed and include permanent or interim design planned for later installation within 30 days of inspection. Additionally, add Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to the Major Crash Review Task Force. This will ensure crashes receive the same amount of attention and intervention. 
  6. Section 8(b) – Establish a public outreach program to educate on traffic safety, dooring, and emphasizes zero-tolerance for automobile-bicycle related injuries and fatalities including an education forum in each ward aimed at educating the public and raising awareness about automobile-bicycle injuries & fatalities. 

We know strategies like lowering vehicle speeds and improving infrastructure will make DC roads safer for vulnerable road users and drivers. We must take the first step in fully funding and implementing the Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus Amendment Act of 2020 without delay.

Thank you for your time and continued commitment to street safety issues.