When a plane falls from the sky society does not see it as an “accident.” Instead, the government sends out investigators to diagnose the cause of a crash. Then experts make recommendations to address the human or mechanical system failures that led to preventable deaths. This is referred to as a “safe systems” approach to saving lives.
The Vision Zero movement, begun in Sweden in 1997, applied that same logic to people dying when traveling on the ground. Instead of seeing traffic deaths as unavoidable “accidents,” Sweden has installed a “safe systems” approach to streets where people die. This strategy has led to a 50% decrease in traffic deaths. If the United States had kept pace with Sweden in reducing traffic deaths then an additional 15,000 Americans would not have died last year alone.
The group Sunset4all is fighting to apply a “safe systems” lens to Sunset Blvd in East Hollywood, Silver Lake, and Echo Park. In the last ten years the 2.2 mile stretch of Sunset between Fountain Avenue and Dodger Stadium has experienced almost 1000 injuries and deaths. It is not accidental when there are 1000 “accidents” on a single stretch of road. It is the result of a series of engineering mistakes – just like a faulty aircraft design. It’s time to re-engineer the road.
One simple engineering fix has been shown to reduce traffic injuries to all road users on average by 44%: moving the bike lanes to the other side of the parked cars. That’s right, simply moving the bike lanes from the “door zone” next to speeding traffic to a protected area between the parked cars and the sidewalk has been shown to reduce injuries to people walking, driving, and biking by 44%.
Human sacrifice should not be the unintended consequence of traveling from point A to point B. Please join over 500 local residents, businesses, and stakeholders who are calling for a “safe systems” approach to Sunset Blvd by signing up at sunset4all.com.