Six months late: Chicago’s Vision Zero Plan

I received the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council meeting reminder earlier today and along with it, I remembered the city is six months, maybe longer, late with publishing their Vision Zero plan.

No matter what mode you utilize in Chicago, you may understand the follows…

Chicago has one core problem, accountability, regarding traffic safety with three primary players, Chicago Department of Transportation, Chicago Police Department, and the judicial system. This situation is without the Vision Zero plan, though nothing I’ve read thus far suggests the plan will create an accountability system.

CDOT is responsible for designing, and redesigning, streets to improve the transportation of people (POVs, bikes, pedestrians, transit) and safety of those people. Alder and community involvement often results in watered down, less effective designs — a design that may not have been great in the first place.

Historically, CDOT has designed unsafe streets — as many American cities have — driver focused, naturally encouraging speeding and reckless behavior.

CPD is often accused of lacking enforcement, a recent study shows the department, effectively, stopped enforcing the distracted driving law once it was expected to comply with appearing before the court when a driver contested it. A running joke I’ve heard is that if CPD has stopped you, you have commited a serious offense — most offenses overlooked.

Now, if CDOT is designing unsafe streets and CPD isn’t enforcing traffic laws, how safe are our streets?

The judicial system frequently favors drivers, ask any biker who follows the news and they’ll likely recall a lighter sentence than warranted when the offense is a driver harming a non-driver. When CPD does enforce traffic laws, we end up with sentences like the result of Bobby Cann’s death involving an intoxicated driver — on his second DUI offense. The judge suggested the driver was not a danger to society, it’s important for him, the judge, to weigh the offender’s “needs.”

We’ve come full circle — CDOT poorly designs streets, CPD more often than not doesn’t enforce the law, judges do not apply the law appropriately, CDOT poorly designs streets, CPD more often than not doesn’t enforce the law, judges do not apply the law appropriately, CDOT poorly designs streets, CPD more often than not doesn’t enforce the law, judges do not apply the law appropriately, CDOT poorly designs streets, CPD more often than not doesn’t enforce the law, judges do not apply the law appropriately…

Come see Chicago’s MBAC meeting in action and learn if their Vision Zero plan is complete.

Wednesday, June 14

3:00–4:30 pm

121 N. LaSalle Street

Room 1103

Chicago IL 60602