The City of West Palm Beach’s newly-launched road safety program is paying dividends in more ways than one.
The initiative, called Vision Zero, has proven to save lives in cities around the world. Here in West Palm Beach, the goal is to reduce and ultimately eliminate serious injuries and fatalities on city roads.
According to the city, bicycle crashes decreased 26.7 percent from 2017 to 2018, and in that same period, crashes involving pedestrians declined 23 percent.
“Vision Zero is already working,” said Tara Applebaum, Vision Zero coordinator for West Palm Beach. “We have short-term and long-term goals to help improve the safety for all city of West Palm Beach road users and we can already tell that our actions are making an impact.”
The program recently received more good news – it just received a $40,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation. The grant was awarded to the West Palm Beach Police Department with the goal of increasing awareness of and compliance with traffic laws for pedestrians and bicyclists.
West Palm Beach was eligible to participate in the program because the city accounts for roughly 12 percent of pedestrian and bicycle crashes in the county.
The city looks to achieve its Vision Zero goal through engineering, education and enforcement: engineering better street designs; education through local fairs and outreach programs; and enforcement of traffic laws and policy reviews.
The city’s two corridors with the highest crash rates are Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and North Broadway Avenue. Other intersections are under review, and short-term options to improve road safety include signs, rumble strips and possible limitations of right turns on red lights.
For more information on Vision Zero West Palm Beach, visit wpb.org/visionzero.
Pictured above: A bike rodeo was set up at the recently-held Vision Zero safety fair that took place in West Palm Beach’s City Hall courtyard.