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How Jersey City made it through 2022 without a traffic accident

Image for article titled How Jersey City made it through 2022 with zero traffic deaths

Vision no, international program to reduce traffic deaths to zero, hasn’t really gone unnoticed, even in cities eager to save lives. However, a large city on the east coast is go against the national trend.

Jersey City has no traffic deaths by 2022. That number comes with a caveat: Only roads directly managed by the city will have no fatalities. Overall, the state of New Jersey sees as many deaths and injuries in 2022 as the rest of the country, and that included on the highways that pass through New York’s brother across the river.

However, in a time when death seems to be everywhere, Jersey City is safer than ever. The secret of the city? In fact, put in the money and effort to quickly implement the recommendations of Vision Zero. A story about the rapid change of things illustrates this point perfectly. Are from Bloomberg:

The area near Avenue St. Pauls Avenue between JFK Avenue and Tonnele Avenue is a jumble of roads and jurisdictions. This is also a perennial traffic safety headache for local people; motorists tend to drive down St. Pauls – a street in the city – as a crossroads to avoid Route 139, the often crowded state highway bringing motorists to the Dutch Tunnel.

So after surveys, inspections, and gentle interventions like speed bumps and crosswalks, city planners tried something else. One week in April, a crew landed in St. Pauls and install small diameter “mini roundabout” At two intersections, use whatever materials the city has available: traffic poles, potted plants, crates, plastic medians, paint. Instant traffic loops — a city first — force drivers to slow down as they negotiate intersections with pedestrians and other vehicles.

Roundabouts are temporary — after a week, they disappear as promised. The city finds that the traffic volume increases even when the speed downward around 10%, and the response from the residents surveyed is overwhelmingly positive: 72% of the respondents are in favor of creating lasting circles. They were also then asked to vote on three other redesigns, one of which briefly converted the St. Pauls to be a one-way street for two weeks at the end of November.

While Vision Zero can help reduce traffic deaths in New York and some of the 45 major US cities signed, Jersey City was the only city to achieve the zero deaths vision. It did so by opening up space, close the road and finding ingenious ways to slow traffic—all through trial and error that gained widespread public support after people saw how these measures improved everyday life and how they travel. Its Why do cities reduce or ban cars? as an experiment tends to uphold such bans.

The city has also experimented with using different tools for different needs, such as micro-traffic programs and active rollout of bike lanes. Without the money and political will, Vision Zero would be just that—a fat zero in the public good. But with an active program that puts people first, change can happen and lives can be saved. And by experimenting, these changes may even gain public support.

Read more about this fascinatingly successful experiment at Bloomberg.


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