Why the New Philadelphia Vision Zero Executive Order is Important

Posted on 04/09/24

On the eve of the Vision Zero PHL 2024 Conference, Philadelphia’s Mayor Cherelle Parker signed an executive order recommitting the City to the goal of reaching zero traffic deaths. AARP Pennsylvania staff and volunteers attended as the Mayor presented her decree and explained, "Every Philadelphian deserves to be able to navigate the city and get home safely.” Those on hand applauded the mayor’s dedication to road safety and vision of creating a cleaner, greener city.

What the New Executive Order Does

Executive Order No. 4 of 2024 sets forth several key elements associated with AARP’s belief that communities should provide streets where people of all ages can safely go for walk, cross the street, ride a bike, and get around with a car, including:

- renaming the City’s Office of Complete Streets to the Office of Multimodal Planning;

- continuing the responsibilities of the Office of Multimodal Planning and Vision Zero Task Force established under Executive Order No. 11 of 2016;

- adding responsibilities to the Office

- creating the Vision Zero Task Force and subcommittee membership; and

- directing the Vision Zero Task Force to plan for the next 5-year Vision Zero Action Plan and Vision Zero Capital Plan

Why It’s Important

For AARP, Vision Zero holds that we, as a society, have the ethical responsibility to do all we can to ensure that people are safe as they move about their communities, whether driving to a doctor’s office, walking to school, or bicycling to work.

The benefits of Vision Zero are numerous and most significant for older adults. As we age, our reflexes and reaction times slow down, making us more vulnerable to accidents on the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, adults over 65 have the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities compared to any other age group.

By continuing the implementation of Vision Zero, we can create safer streets for everyone – including older adults – no matter which mode of transportation they choose.

This should include the passage of a local policy laying out goals, timeline, stakeholders, and a commitment to community engagement, transparency, & equitable outcomes.

What Happens Next

AARP knows that achieving the goal of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries happens most effectively when high-ranking local officials make an official and public commitment to a Vision Zero goal. As such, Mayor Parker’s announcement is appreciated as it’s embedded in a commitment to community engagement, transparency, and equitable outcomes.

As an organization that thrives on serving as a ‘wise friend and fierce defender’ for Pennsylvanians 50+, AARP Philadelphia is dedicated to ensuring all residents are safe when using their streets and sidewalks. We look forward to beginning our neighborhood walk audits with the Livable Communities Network, which includes working with neighborhoods to assess pedestrian safety and bring them to the Parker administration, advocating for additional funding that the City will need to reverse the current trend in traffic deaths, and supporting the expanded responsibilities of the renamed Office of Multimodal Planning.

Lastly, the AARP Philadelphia volunteers and staff anticipate serving with and providing input to the Vision Zero Task Force as it develops the next 5-year Vision Zero Action Plan and Vision Zero Capital Plan, due by October 31, 2025.

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