WASHINGTON — At 18th and M Streets, NW Mayor Muriel Bowser held a news conference to announce new momentum and money for the Vision Zero Initiative: $5 Million to update road design, traffic signals, and enforcement.
“With all of us working together we can make our streets safer,” said Mayor Bowser during the news conference.
Bowser said expect measures to slow traffic throughout the city in a summer safety initiative by the DC Department of Transports. There will be more bike lanes, pavement markers and electronic signs that show drivers how fast they're traveling. Bowser said while lowering the default limit to 20 miles an hour on city streets was one step towards slowing drivers down, more needs to be done.
"There are changes going on and here's why,” explained Bowser, “this city was designed for people to drive through, usually to drive through it from places like Maryland or Virginia quickly.”
Finn Vigeland’s dear friend and avid cyclist Jim Pagel lost his life on DC streets too. The mourners have become advocates for safer streets.
"It's been a month since my friend Jim was killed on our streets and nothing has changed," said Vigeland, “it does give me a little hope to hear the mayor talk about these issues as systemic."
“We can't wait any longer for one more person to say, ‘I'm going to take a route that is 5 minutes faster, 10 minutes faster,’ and learn in that moment that they made a possibly fatal error," added Vigeland.
For more and more commuters who travel by bicycles, like Charles Duan and his 7-year old son, it's about safety not speed.
“There's a lot to urban cycling and a lot of teaching him how to ride is not about how to pedal the bike but how to be safe," said Duan.
Others impacted in 2021 by traffic deaths include 4-year old Zyaire Joshua, whose mom made a desperate plea for change. So has the family of 47-year-old father Armando Martinez Ramos -- who was killed in a District traffic accident.
Bowser also said she will propose another $5 million road initiative measure in her next budget for more traffic cameras and free circulator buses to encourage people to leave the cars at home.