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City moves forward on Vision Zero

Good.

Mayor Sylvester Turner on Tuesday adopted a plan that aims to end traffic fatalities and serious traffic injuries in Houston by 2030.

The “Vision Zero Houston” plan is considered a significant step in the city’s mobility strategy and will change how officials design roads and sidewalks, according to a city news release. The plan, adopted as part of an executive order, will prioritize “engineering, education, enforcement, equity and evaluation,” the release said.

“Some will say this goal is unachievable,” Turner said in the release. “But I say, no loss of life is acceptable on our roadways, None, ZERO.”

Many cities that have adopted the plan reported steady declines in traffic deaths and injuries over the last few years, the release said. The mayor will establish an executive committee of leaders from city departments, surrounding counties, METRO and the Texas Department of Transportation to devise the strategy by this time next year.

See here and here for more on Vision Zero as it pertains to Houston, and here for further blogging. While Vision Zero has been adopted by San Antonio and Austin, but it’s been awhile since we’d heard much here. The Mayor’s press release is here, and if you want to do a deeper dive on what this means, see here, here, and here. This is a long-term process that’s going to involve things like lower speed limits, more and better sidewalks, and a bunch of other changes big and small that will be phased in, with new construction being done to the Vision Zero standard. You’ll be hearing plenty more as we go along.

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22 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    This is really silly. Want safer roads now, today? Get unlicensed drivers and their cars off the roads.

    Unlicensed driver? Arrest and impound car.

    Uninsured driver? Impound car.

    Unlicensed, uninsured and illegal alien driver? Arrest, impound car, and call ICE for removal.

    There also needs to be some mechanism to punish people who buy a liability insurance policy that won’t cover the driver. The net result is the same, the driver is uninsured, but can show an insurance card for the vehicle that is worthless in an accident.

    Turner lays out his zero accident pipe dream, but won’t do the obvious thing to make the roads safer.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    I have one more suggestion to improve safety, and it’s a technology centered suggestion. Know those alcohol testing machines the courts mandate those convicted of DWI to install in their vehicles? Surely there could be a comparable interlock system to require a valid driver’s license to be swiped before a car will start. This would keep those who have had their licenses suspended for any number of reasons from physically being able to drive their cars without a license, and if someone was caught driving, we’d have a record of who swiped the interlock with their DL to start the car.

    Maybe require the license interlock system to be installed in a car while it’s impounded as another condition to release it? Then, the companies monitoring the systems could report non payment of the monthly fee just like insurance companies report people who don’t pay their car insurance bills?

    We should be making it difficult for people who are not qualified to drive to actually drive, and get those people on Metro instead.

  3. Jules says:

    Go away Bill. We don’t need to read your idiotic racist big government bullshit ideas.

  4. C.L. says:

    Driving without a license or without insurance in TX is a misdemeanor. I don’t see HPD or HCSD flooding the jail cells with misdemeanor charges, nor do I see Ford Motor installing an interlock system that needs a valid drivers license…

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    C.L.

    If you don’t want to clog the jails with people driving with no license, because you don’t think traffic safety is that important, OK, but can you agree that when we catch someone driving with no license, we don’t just let them drive off? Either tow the car off, or make the driver call a licensed driver to remove the car. Could you at least support that?

    Jules,

    I feel bad for you. You have no debate skills…zero, zilch, nada. You post like a 12 year old mean girl having a temper tantrum. Maybe you identify as a 12 year old girl? Hey, no one is kink shaming here.

    If you want to take a swing at the actual issue, traffic safety and preventing accidents, then explain how NOT removing unlicensed drivers from Houston’s streets is a benefit, safety wise.

    If we don’t think having a valid driver’s license is necessary to promote traffic safety, then let’s just stop requiring them for everyone. Of course, if we do that, we’ll have to stop demanding an end to the “gun show loophole,” which is the only way people of color and immigrants have of purchasing a gun, since they don’t have the proper ID to get them from FFL dealers.

  6. Ross says:

    So, Bill, would you be OK with giving illegal aliens a drivers license? Many of them are as good, or better, drivers than legal residents. We don’t have to make the license valid for anything other than driving, but that would also make it possible for them to get insurance as well, which many of them would pay for if they had a license.

    You can argue all day that illegal aliens shouldn’t drive and should be immediately deported, but the fact is that they are here and they drive. Locking them up or imposing penalties for a piece of paper they are qualified for but can’t get seems short sighted.

    I do agree that the car ought to be towed for no license or insurance, rather than letting the driver just motor away.

  7. Bill Daniels says:

    @Ross,

    No, I would vehemently disagree with giving illegal aliens driver’s licenses. Anyone here legally that can pass a laughably lax test can get a D.L., including legitimate visa holders, although the visa holders’ license expiration dates are tied to their visa dates.

    But this is not that simple. Illegal aliens aren’t the only ones driving without a license. As someone who hires people, I can’t tell you how many citizens I have encountered don’t have a D.L. They got a DWI, they got suspended for too many tickets, they didn’t pay the “driver responsibility fees,” they didn’t pay child support, they just didn’t care enough to renew their license…..there are many citizens that don’t have a D.L., and I don’t want them driving, either.

    It seems pretty simple, if you don’t have a D.L., take Metro. Metro is always crying about ridership. Well, here you go. Tow the cars when non licensed people are caught driving. Make it known that Houston, as a Vision Zero city, WILL tow your car if you don’t have a license. Do that, and you’ll take cars off the road and fill buses. Fewer cars = safer streets.

  8. Bill Daniels says:

    For what it’s worth, this idea of impounding cars came from…..Los Angeles. Hardly a conservative or Republican city.

    https://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-xpm-2013-aug-14-la-ed-impounds-20130814-story.html

  9. brad says:

    I think Bill is right on getting some sort of technology to prevent certain drivers.

    Maybe a facial recognition technology on the dashboard to identify potential drivers with tinted or dark skin to stop the car from starting.

    This may not work with Michael Jackson or Halle Berry type scenarios, but it is worth a shot to deal with these problems we are having.

  10. Manny says:

    I agree with Jules, Bill what makes you think you have this awesome mind that can belittle someone for pointing out the obvious that you are a racist, a bigot, a woman hater, and who knows what else a well rounded deplorable type can be called. You are so brave what is your real name Bill?

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    We just watched you savage Ross in another thread, today. You ran off Kubosh, a Houston hero in the red light camera war. You’ve demonstrated your viewpoint very clearly here. You, like the Castro bros. and their mother, are La Raza Unida, Atzlan supporters.

    You’re upset with the black HISD board members because they are black. You clearly disdain whites. As I recall, you weren’t too supportive of Jules and the gays back when the HERO was the topic of the day. You use the progressive camp to support YOUR cause of open borders and reconquista, but you don’t support THEIR causes. You’re a user, and a crybully.

    I could savagely take you apart here, in writing, again, but I, like you, am a guest of our host, and I’m not going to do that in deference to Kuff. The respect is for Kuff, not for you.

    I’m appealing to you once again…..drop the personal attacks. Don’t do it for me, Do it because you respect our host.

    Kuff has a nice playground, with probably the best content in Houston politics. Let’s honor that, OK?

  12. Manny says:

    As one other Trump lover stated, he gets keyboard courage, but at least he doesn’t hide who he is.

    Paul exiled himself, can’t help that. If I had the power to drive people away you would be gone.

    Let me see

    I give money to Warren every month

    I give me to MJ Hegar

    I gave to Senator Doug Jones

    I gave to Congressman Conor Lamb

    I supported Beto

    I am supporting Turner

    I have not given to any of the Castro brothers, ever

    So you are not only a racist, a bigot, you are one hell of a liar,

    As to dropping the personal attacks, let me remind your petty little mind what you stated above in reference to Jules

    “I feel bad for you. You have no debate skills…zero, zilch, nada. You post like a 12 year old mean girl having a temper tantrum. Maybe you identify as a 12 year old girl? Hey, no one is kink shaming here.”

    I forgot to add that you are deplorable and you hide behind a mask. I imagine you picture yourself a hero, you are like all the villains that wear masks.

  13. Manny says:

    I also gave to the Harris County Democratic Party. I received my ACLU membership card for this year this past week. I donate to ActBlue. I am member of the Southwest Democrats, formally the Sharpstown Democrats.

    I gave money to Lizzy Fletcher. I must admit that I also gave to Lupe Valdez and Gina Ortiz-Jones and will do so again next year after she wins the primary.

    I responded when you and your evil twisted mind responded in such an evil way toward Jules.

  14. Manny says:

    Let me explain something to your tiny little brain Bill, all those in the list, the first list, they all be white people.

  15. Manny says:

    When you to post on Big Jolly you tend to show your full hate toward minorities or those different, from BJ

    Rashida hates Jews more than she loves her nana. I wonder where she learned that hate from. Based on nana’s response, it looks like she learned it from her family, as is the custom in that part of the world.

    Also, I think the exact quote called for Allah to ruin Trump, not the capital G, one true God, so I’m not worried about the hex of a bitter, hateful shrew. I actually feel a little bit bad for nana, because that black hate in her heart? She no doubt learned that from HER parents and her nana. Cycle of hate.

  16. C.L. says:

    I’m not sure how this thread turned from a traffic flow issue to Rashida Tlaib’s Mother’s period of discontentment with Israeli occupation of former Palestinian owned lands…but with Manny, anything is possible !

  17. C.L. says:

    This page supported the LAPD policy as both reasonable and practical, and we’re dismayed that the judge struck it down. But it was never a perfect solution. A far more sensible approach to dealing with the problem would be to enact legislation that allows immigrants, regardless of their residency status, to apply for and receive driver’s licenses. A driver’s license doesn’t confer legal residency; it merely tells law enforcement authorities that the person behind the wheel of that car has passed a written exam and a driving test and is qualified to be on the road. Granting licenses to noncitizens would also help address the unfair reality, as documented in 2010 by the the Center for Investigative Reporting, that most of the drivers losing their cars at checkpoints for not having a license were sober immigrants who were driving perfectly well.

    Straight from the 2013 LA Times article Bill referenced earlier.

  18. Manny says:

    C.L. it is your fault for constantly siding with a Bill, but of course like minds tend to defend each other.

    I see that you, C.L. have no problem with Bill referring to Jules as

    “I feel bad for you. You have no debate skills…zero, zilch, nada. You post like a 12 year old mean girl having a temper tantrum. Maybe you identify as a 12 year old girl? Hey, no one is kink shaming here.”

    Now how did traffic flow get to that point C.L. I had not even posted until Bill went off on his racist, bigoted tirade.

    At least this time you managed to present a reasonable argument. Wonder if you can keep it up, anything may be possible with you.

  19. Jason Hochman says:

    How did this discussion of a very important topic (eliminating traffic deaths) turn into a big who’s the bigger racist contest? This is a big need for the city. I contact all the time in hope that they will reach out to me for advice. Since the last week of May, I have bicycled close to 1200 miles on Houston streets, all for commuting, grocery shopping, church, library, auto parts store, and WalMart. The city needs to improve the roads dramatically, and they need to do away with the idea that bicycles need to split the lane if it is 14′ or wider. I can’t even get the city to send me a list of the streets 14′ and wider. The people at city hall have no idea what bicycling is like on Houston streets and trails. Mayor Turner rides once a year for maybe 100 feet on take your bike to work day in May. It’s a big photo for him. There needs to be a lot of new laws, for example, no more right turns on red, and perhaps even women shouldn’t drive. I advocate making all cars manual transmission which would eliminate a lot of drivers right there. Further, Bill Baldwin, for example is an advocate of the “public right of way,” which means that cars can park on the edge of your lawn, because it is public. Why I ask, should I subsidize the storage of private property on public space? The wealthy Mr Baldwin doesn’t have any cars in front of his mansion. Why not advocate for the public right of way for pedestrians. I am also tired of subsidizing the wealthy to buy their Tesla and other luxury cars that are electric or hybrid. Why not subsidize e-bikes, or buy me a cargo bike such as the Surly Big Dummy.

  20. Jason, you have been here often enough to know that ad hominem attacks on those who comment are common, Manny frequently displaying that chip on his shoulder when it comes to charges of racism. It has grown over time to include a 6 degrees of separation to Trump even when some of us point out are longstanding disgust of the guy. In this particular thread, it was Jules who started in on racism, Bill’s declaration toward illegals was not accompanied by any specific group of them.

    As far as the very worthy goals of this Vision Zero program, it makes no sense to pander to the tiny fraction of people that ride a bike and I’m sure all the women drivers will take exception to your stance regarding their driving skills given insurance statistics show they cause fewer accidents than men. The local towing lobby will adore Bill’s idea even if his desire to have unlicensed drivers arrested is taken out but I haven’t seen any credible studies showing those here illegally are worse drivers than the rest of us. The fact that local cops aren’t supposed to ask drivers about their status prevents such a study from having much validity.

    Otherwise, programs that rely mostly on engineered, physical solutions are unlikely to accomplish the goal given they are so expensive to implement on a wide scale and more aggressive enforcement strategies don’t seem to have lasting effects. The most deadly intersections in Houston have remained static for a long time according to media reports and city data; driver licenses are just too easy to obtain, too many people think it’s their right to drink and drive, and texting while driving has made things even worse. Slowing people down and reducing on street parking might help but it’s going to require individuals to pay much more attention when driving to make big improvements.

  21. “our” (auto-correct…)

  22. Jules says:

    Steve, yeah I do think pretty much any of Bill’s remarks about immigrants are racist, plus his comment had little to do with the post.