Leaders Must Make Safer Streets a Priority

September 1, 2016

We need to be paying more attention to the safety of our streets. Though it is grim, we were glad to see the Globe’s coverage of this issue (“US on pace for deadliest driving year in decade,” Metro, Aug. 24). In Massachusetts, “an estimated 179 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes statewide in the first half of this year, 20 percent more than each of the previous two years.”

Of those fatalities, 34 were people walking, and at least four were people biking — about 21 percent of the total, well above the national rate. Many more have been struck and injured. 

We desperately need the state, cities, and towns to invest in infrastructure. The status quo is not working. Leaders must prioritize safer options for people to walk, bike, and take transit. The state Transportation Department’s Complete Streets program is an excellent start. Boston’s and Cambridge’s Vision Zero efforts are getting underway, but they need to be ramped up. 

Crash data are important to identify dangerous streets and intersections, but even without complete data, it is up to cities and towns to take immediate steps to modify our roads. Safety and mobility for all modes of transportation are crucial to the health of our people and our economy. 

Wendy Landman, executive director

WalkBoston, Boston

Stacy Thompson, executive director

LivableStreets Alliance, Cambridge

Becca Wolfson, executive director

Boston Cyclists Union, Roxbury

The writers are speaking on behalf of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition.

Read the full article in the Boston Globe or in a PDF