Streets for the People is an initiative of the SE Quadrant neighborhoods in the City of Rochester. It is a resource to help educate and empower citizens to advocate for and create safer streets for all who use them. The initiative supports the belief that our community streets are made for people, regardless of their mode of transportation.
Streets for the People is rooted in the efforts of the Voice of the Citizen (VOC), a program that fostered creative community-centered solutions to public safety concerns within our city neighborhoods. Each quadrant was allocated funds to design and implement an innovative solution for one area of concern. The Southeast Quadrant focused on traffic safety and helped organize neighbors to work together to address unsafe traffic flow, decrease speeding vehicles in residential neighborhoods and implement beautification projects. One of the most well-known projects was BoulevART, a community street painting effort that had a traffic calming effect for areas that experience high traffic volumes or speeding traffic.
Why the focus on traffic safety?
In areas such as residential streets and urban areas where pedestrians, bikes and vehicles are sharing the roads within close proximity to one another, reduced speeds improve safety for everyone. Slower speeds give drivers more stopping distance and reaction time, which could prevent crashes from occurring in the first place. But when crashes do occur, the risk of injury or death is lower.
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable people on our streets and decreased vehicle speed has a major impact on the likelihood of severe injury or death for those involved in a vehicle crash:
|Impact Speed:||Risk of Death:|
[Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety]
And that risk increases if the pedestrian is young or elderly. Street design, traffic calming measures, enforcement and public awareness all work together to impact traffic safety.
Calmer traffic and lower speed limits can offer other benefits in addition to fewer and less severe crashes, such as increased home values, healthier citizens, more vibrant neighborhoods and better air quality. Traffic safety impacts all people who live, work, play and commute in and around our streets.