City of Toledo announces adoption of “Vision Zero” traffic plan

The plan is long term, and no immediate changes will take place.

Vision Zero (Jaden Jefferson)

TOLEDO, Ohio — This morning, the city of Toledo announced it is adopting the “Vision Zero” traffic fatality reduction strategy, which entails reshaping city infrastructure to accommodate the growing need for bike and foot accessibility in urban areas. Sean Burnett, the city’s commissioner of transportation, says that this plan will also reduce the amount of traffic fatalities in any given year.

“One of the things that successful cities do is that they make sure that the city is walkable, safe for pedestrians, bike-friendly and that we’re using the best possible engineering and planning decisions when it comes to pedestrian, vehicular and multimodal safety,” said Sean Burnett, the city’s commissioner of transportation.

He adds that the plan will take place across a span of a few years, with the target date being 2031, for when the number of traffic-related fatalities reaches 0.

“Like other cities around the nation, Toledo is committed to Vision Zero, in an initiative to eliminate all fatalities by 2031. We want to hear from motorists, from pedestrians, from public transit users and bicyclists in the community,” Burnett said.

The city says Toledo is the first city in the state to adopt this model, and Council Member Sam Melden of District 5 says Toledo could serve as a model for much larger Ohio cities.

“There’s a lot of coastal cities, so this seems like a network that has started on the coast and is kind of moving inward. It is true that in Ohio, there are no other cities, so we’re excited to be one of, if not the first in the state of Ohio to apply ourselves to this,” said Melden.

But when these changes go into effect, will speeders comply? I asked Melden that very question.

“Enforcement and compliance is always really, really important. So, what’s nice is that through a Vision Zero process, we come up with more effective strategies to get people to slow down more consistently,” he said.

But what will the impact of this initiative be on the recent rise in gun violence?

“There are very significant safety concerns in our city. I don’t know how connected those are — to be honest. I think that much of what I’m talking about, we’re gonna see come back in full force when school comes back in session and kids are walking to and from school,” said Council Member Melden.

The city is seeking your input on this initiative. Just go to toledo.oh.gov/zero to learn more and fill out the attached survey. The city says through your feedback, they can make the necessary changes that will eventually result in fewer fatalities.

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