Pedestrian Safety is a critical issue that needs to be urgently addressed. In 2019, about 7,668 pedestrians died in traffic/non-traffic incidents. However, this number does not proportionally represent all groups. In fact, from 2010-2019, African Americans were struck and killed by drivers at a rate about 82% higher than White, Non-Hispanic Americans. For American Indian and Alaska Native people, that rate climbs all the way up to 221%. In our own Montgomery County, the Hispanic fatality rate was 105% higher than the Non-Hispanic White rate. Much of this disparity has to do with the inadequacy of safety in low-income and minority communities.
The Montgomery City Council and County Executive must listen to expert recommendations and take urgent actions to provide protection for all its residents. Vision Zero is an organization whose mission is to eliminate all road-related deaths, bringing the number of fatalities all the way down to 0 by 2030. In 2019, Vision Zero set up an Equity Task Force which gathered data and made recommendations to improve safety for all residents of Montgomery County.
One aspect of their recommendations was engineering. They concluded that the City Council and County Executive should prioritize providing adequate physical infrastructure throughout the whole county. Firstly, the city leaders must determine which communities don’t have sufficient sidewalks, proper lighting, bus stops, and bike infrastructure. Once determined, those are the communities whose development should be prioritized, rather than adding new infrastructure to already-thriving neighborhoods. The Equity Task Force also highlighted a second approach to tackling safety inequities. They propose resolving historical disinvestment in areas of Montgomery County that are underserved due to a lack of transportation funding.
Safety should always be the top priority. It's important to focus on equity to make sure our beloved Montgomery county is safe for all residents. Therefore, I urge you to join me in pressuring the County Council and County Executive to enact the Equity Task Force's recommendations and provide equal infrastructure to historically deprived communities.