Local businesses, neighbourliness, crime prevention and social cohesion are all supported by connected, safe, walkable communities. The design of our roads and streets has a significant impact on our safety and freedom of movement. We avoid places that feel unsafe. Our streets should be designed so that everyone, 8 or 80, on foot, bike, bus or car is able to arrive at their destination safely. Design speed is the speed that feels “right” when driving. But it’s also a speed that often feels fast and dangerous for those walking or rolling nearby and it’s often faster than posted speed limits. This approach has led to frustration for everyone. Retrofitting our streets so that their design aligns with traffic safety metrics and speed limits will take time, but is an important objective for achieving Vision Zero.
Communities have been asking for ways to address speeding and traffic calming for years and through the new Vision Zero Street Labs initiative there is finally a mechanism for supporting this demand in the community. Often the best solutions are relatively inexpensive and community led. My experience working on neighbourhood renewal, with communities tackling traffic impacts of development and those wanting to calm traffic on a busy street all lend well to supporting your goals for safer streets in your neighbourhood.