ISSUE | SAFE STREETS
Sum of all traffic fears should be zero
The Inquirer report on lax traffic-law enforcement illustrates well the dangers of Philadelphia traffic, and why the city needs to do a better job enforcing existing laws ("Chaos on the street," Dec. 14). A 75 percent decrease in traffic tickets since 1998, for instance, isn't just unacceptable - it's incredibly dangerous.
As we found in our recently released Safer Streets Philadelphia report, traffic crashes cost the city about $1 billion per year. In 2013, 89 people were killed in traffic accidents, and pedestrian deaths have risen over the past five years.
Philadelphia should adopt what's known as a "vision zero" policy and establish a multiagency task force to make it happen. Such a policy sets a goal of eliminating traffic deaths in a given year, and New York and San Francisco have each adopted one. Vision zero should be the goal of anyone wishing to represent - and protect - Philadelphians. In addition to greater emphasis on enforcement, other measures should include reducing speed limits, building protected bike lanes, safer intersections, and raised crosswalks, improving traffic signals, launching public education campaigns, and installing additional safety cameras.
The city has a long way to go. To achieve greater safety, officials needs to strategically focus on stepping up enforcement, improve street infrastructure, and adopt smart policies.
|Alex Doty, executive director, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Philadelphia, email@example.com
ISSUE | POLICING IN PHILADELPHIA
Less bluster, more support for reform
The photo published Thursday of two policemen (and brothers) honored for rescuing five people from a burning building reminds us how many Philadelphia officers do an outstanding job in a most dangerous and stressful job. I'm sure John McNesby, head of the police union, viewed the photo with pride - as he should. But we would all be better served if McNesby didn't spend so much energy making wild statements ("Police union chief blasts protests," Dec. 18).
In fact, he might be well-advised to highlight the heroes, but also to support weeding out bad apples from the force, improving police-community relations, and helping enable citizens and the legal system to curb police excesses.
|Leonard Perlman, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org