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Public makes call to action over reckless driving

Posted at 6:16 PM, Nov 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-06 19:16:57-04

Concerned citizens gathered at Sherman Park on Saturday to discuss solutions to the city's reckless driving problem.

"What we need, is for this city to come together," said Celia Jackson with the Coalition for Safe Driving MKE.

It was clear, from the speakers, that they want a more unified effort to make the city's roads safe.

"We can't just have one group doing this, another group doing that. Somebody else doing something over here and none of them are weaved together," said Jackson.

So, lately, there has been talk about getting behind a strategy called Vision Zero, which is used by cities around the world.

"That incorporates road engineering, narrowing lanes, curb extensions, pedestrian infrastructure. And then our kids could use this [Sherman] park without being afraid of getting hit by cars," said Jordan Morales with the Sherman Park Community Association.

The strategy's main goal: set a timeline to achieve zero traffic deaths and injuries.

City officials in Madison, for example, have adopted Vision Zero and report a significant reduction in speeding citations across the Wisconsin capital. Madison's goal is zero fatalities and injuries by 2030.

In addition to road overhauls, as mentioned by Morales, Vision Zero advocates for speed reduction, data-driven enforcement, and equity and community engagement.

In Milwaukee, speeding citations through September this year roughly tripled compared to the same period in 2020.

And according to the Traffic Safety Unit, of nearly 10,000 citations issued from February this year, more than half are for people driving at least 20 miles an hour over the limit.

Sixty people have died in traffic crashes this year and more than 35,000 have been injured.

"We're asking that the mayor and the common council declare reckless driving a public safety and public health emergency," said Morales.

By doing that, Morales hopes, the city moves more quickly toward road overhauls.

But just as important, says Celia Jackson, is the community engagement. It's needed, she says, to remind if not educate people, that traffic laws are in place for a reason.

"You don't want anything to happen to you and you certainly don't want anything to happen to one of your family members. If you don't understand and appreciate that, then you know, we got a tall order," said Jackson.

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