Go SLOW Ukiah
A few weeks ago, I drove down to San Francisco for a concert with my family. We left early because I wanted to leave plenty of time to navigate the city streets to AT&T Park, and to find parking.
As you might expect, I feel much more at home in Ukiah than in San Francisco, especially when it comes to driving in traffic. In San Francisco, it seems that cars, trucks, bikes and pedestrians are coming from every angle, so just getting from one block to the next in this mad rush can be a challenge.
Although I’ve driven through the city many times, this time was different: there were electronic message warning signs strategically placed at key intersections. Each was flashing, “Vision Zero” followed by a safety message and their goal of reducing–to zero–the number of traffic-related deaths in San Francisco.
When I researched Vision Zero, I learned that the City of San Francisco had adopted this road-safety policy to create safe, livable streets—to protect the one million people who move about there on a daily basis.
Each year in San Francisco, more than 200 people are seriously injured and about 30 are killed while traveling on city streets. Vision Zero says these events are unacceptable and preventable, and San Francisco is working hard to stop further loss of life within their city. The goal is to create a culture that prioritizes traffic safety and ensures that mistakes on their roadways don’t result in serious injuries or death.
If you’d like to know more about the Vision Zero initiative, visit http://visionzerosf.org
Here in Ukiah, when it comes to traffic safety, our statistics say we are safe; but if you ask people who live and work here, they often say they are frustrated with our community’s culture of unsafe driving. This is really apparent when you study our collision rankings involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
For collisions with pedestrians, Ukiah was ranked as the 18th most dangerous city compared to 108 California cities of similar size. I was especially disappointed to see that we were ranked 12th most dangerous for collisions involving pedestrians younger than 15 years old. While the sample size was small (only two pedestrians younger than 15 were injured in collisions), having such a poor ranking compared to other cities our size should concern us all.
For collisions with bicyclists, Ukiah was ranked the 41st most dangerous city of these comparison cities. Sadly, once again, we were ranked even worse for motor vehicle collisions involving bicyclists younger than 15 years old: we were the 9th most dangerous amongst the 108 comparison cities. Here, too, the sample size was small (two bicyclists under 15 were injured in collisions); but again, having a high ranking compared to other cities should concern us.
The good news is that here in Ukiah, we have a group dedicated to changing the behavior of Ukiah speeders: Go Slow Ukiah.
Go Slow Ukiah group that encourages people to consider and share ideas about how to reduce traffic speeds in Ukiah. They want safer, more inviting neighborhoods. According to their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/goslowukiah), they want to feel relaxed in their front yards and comfortable allowing their kids to play in the street. They want their kids to be safe when they walk or bike to school.
Most importantly, the Go Slow Ukiah group is working hard to change the culture of our community when it comes to unsafe driving behaviors. If you haven’t already, click “Like” on the Go Slow Ukiah Facebook page. They have fantastic information on driver safety, bike and pedestrian safety, and some great safety tips to make Ukiah safe.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.