County Council endorses movement to eliminate traffic deaths

The Pierce County Council passed a resolution endorsing Vision Zero, a nationwide movement to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2035. That same goal is to be applied to the county.

According to statistics provided by the council, in unincorporated Pierce County there have been 12,000-plus collisions between 2016 and 2021 in which 520 people were killed or seriously hurt.

Those same statistics indicate a recent surge of collisions, with a 58 percent increase in crashes from 2020 to 2021.

The council’s passage of the resolution at its Aug. 30 regular meeting means aligning policies, programs and funding to reduce traffic deaths and injuries overall in Pierce County.

Per the resolution, “the Planning and Public Works Department is expected to collaborate and consult with key departments, agencies, and community stakeholders in the development of a Vision Zero Action Plan to include, but not be limited to, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Patrol, Traffic Safety Commission, Transportation Advisory Commission, local jurisdictions, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, school districts, and bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations.”

Council Chair Derek Young said such legislation was “way past due” to pass such legislation and recalled a time a few years ago when he challenged himself to go without using his personal automobile for a time.

He said he learned the transit system is “terrible” and needs to be improved.

But that wasn’t all.

“You see really, really quickly how broken our pedestrian infrastructure is, and how terrifying a lot of drivers are,” he remarked.

The resolution approved by the council includes authorization for the submittal of grant applications in support of Vision Zero.

The Planning and Public Works Department now has two years to present its finished plan to the council.


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