‘Vision Zero’ plan proposes speeding cameras in Charlotte, looks to end traffic deaths by 2030

Proposed changes to make roads safer

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Last year Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department investigated 73 fatal car crashes killing 77 people, according to CMPD. So far in 2019, nine people have been killed in car crashes which is four more than this time last year.That’s part of the reason Charlotte city leaders are trying to come up with ways to make it safer for you and others.

‘Vision Zero’ city representatives put forth a plan of action for the initiative, which took a closer look into what’s called the city’s high injury network- That’s the map of roads and streets considered the most dangerous- due to deaths and injury incidents. The hope is to eliminate traffic and pedestrian related deaths by the year 2030.

CMPD has conducted 10 enforcement operations this year already and has committed to conduct at least 25 more within the high injury networks. CMPD has also issued more than 16,000 combined citations and warnings for traffic violations.

“We’re looking at a close collaboration with CMPD to focus on those areas in our high injury network,” says Debbie Smith, with Vision Zero and Deputy Director for the Charlotte Department of Transportation.

The Vision Zero Program recommends prioritizing updates to pedestrian crosswalks and also adding 400 street lights in eight different corridors, five of which were listed on the high injury network.

Another priority shown in the data? Speeding cameras.

“45 percent of our crashes involve speeding as a component,” says Smith.

Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt says although data shows a probable need for speeding enforcement, she also wants Vision Zero to continue exploring red-light cameras.

“I still don’t see that we’ve looked at that, I don’t see that we’ve addressed that specific question,” says Eiselt.

The Vision Zero Program says their research shows only five percent of fatal crashes were caused by drivers running red lights, though. Eiselt says, even with those numbers, red light cameras offer more insight into understanding what’s happening on our roads.

“In this age and area of mining data and using it for analytical purposes, we should certainly be doing that", says Eiselt.

The committee ultimately said they could not commit to a proclamation that Charlotte can be considered a “Vision Zero” city just yet with the plans shown today. Now that it’s back to looking at those strategies for the initiative, they’ll present this action plan once again to the committee at February’s meeting on the 25th.

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