I’ve read with interest the arguments made for and against Alexandria city’s Vision Zero policy. I would like to offer my own thoughts on the matter from the perspective of a pedestrian and bicycle rider.
Living near the Masonic Memorial, I usually walk or ride my bike to get to the waterfront, King Street Metro and North Old Town. When there’s gridlock in Old Town I’ve found a bicycle is the quickest way to get around. But our streets are not safe enough; we still have people being seriously injured or killed on our city streets each year. Even if you never walk or ride a bike yourself, every neighbor who does is one less person contributing to the worsening gridlock.
Like myself, many of our millennial residents eschew cars and would rather choose mass transit, bicycles, walking or use scooters to get around our city. This is good news, because if we want less gridlock — which is what several of those against the Vision Zero stated is a problem — we need more residents to be like the millenials. But we need streets to be safer throughout the entire city — from the West End to Old Town, from Arlington’s borders to Hunting Creek.
Should we deny citizens and millennials the safest possible streets? Discourage their quest to reduce congestion, noise and pollution? Keep streets dangerous to discourage them from having a healthy lifestyle?
The thoughtfully re-designed King Street reflects a holistic approach to accommodate all modes of transportation safely while moving traffic at a reasonable pace — precisely what Vision Zero espouses. I thank the city for implementing it.
I believe that Vision Zero increases the livability and safety for citizens and visitors. This is why I am an advocate for Vision Zero, it is the right policy to make our streets safer, because everyone benefits from safer streets, regardless of their age and travel choice.