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Checking in with Vision Zero safety initiatives in Oakland

The Oakland Department of Transportation participated in the Vision Zero conference in March 2021 in Philadelphia. Along with advocacy groups from around the nation, Oakland DOT shared ideas about reducing the number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths to zero.

Review some of the key findings of conference attendees for information about how to stay safe while traveling in the Bay Area on foot or by bicycle.

Disproportionate safety risks by race

While Black, Asian, Latino and White residents each comprise about 25% of the population of Oakland, people of color have a much higher rate of pedestrian deaths. The risk of fatality is about 223% higher than for American Indian individuals and 83% higher for Black Oakland residents than the rate for their White neighbors.

Dangerous areas

Vision Zero also strives to address issues with traffic fatalities at certain corners and thoroughfares, with communities in danger from motorists who speed and drive recklessly in these areas. For example, the group is working with residents of 8th Street in West Oakland, a common site of illegal street races, to fund speed cameras and protective barriers.

Limited infrastructure

Design flaws prevent cyclists and pedestrians from traveling safely throughout Oakland. The nonprofit group Walk Oakland Bike Oakland cites the separation of the waterfront Bay Trail and park with the surrounding neighborhoods by Interstate 880. While these less-affluent neighborhoods have limited foot access to these amenities, wealthy residents of other communities along the bay have close, easy trail access.

Understanding these issues can help legislators and advocates reduce the risk of traffic deaths and injuries for pedestrians and cyclists in Oakland.

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