Safe Streets for Palo Alto!

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Over 60% of middle and high school PAUSD students walk and bike to school every day, and the City of Palo Alto is in the top 5 cities nation-wide with a population over 60,000 with the most bicycle commuters. Yet, Palo Alto does not have a road safety policy in place to protect these and other vulnerable road users, and to support the Comprehensive Plan Goal T-6.2, “Pursue the goal of zero severe injuries and roadway fatalities on Palo Alto city streets.”

As humans, we are vulnerable to injury and make mistakes. Let’s do all we can to create an environment that reduces risk of serious injury or death to street users. The Safe Systems approach provides a guiding framework to design transportation systems and safety programs with redundancies in place to protect people.

We, the undersigned, ask City Council to direct staff to prioritize the Safe Systems approach in transportation planning for all modes of transportation, to work toward developing a Safe System policy recommendation for road safety, and to set an ambitious timeline for pursuing the city’s goal of zero severe injuries and roadway fatalities on streets in Palo Alto.

A Safe System approach prioritizes the elimination of crashes that result in death and severe injuries and has been adopted by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Caltrans. Palo Alto needs a safe transportation network for people of all ages and abilities who walk, bike, ride transit and drive, including our vulnerable youngest commuters on their way to school and seniors. Lack of perceived and actual safety and comfort is a known, significant deterrent to walking, bicycling, and transit use.

A Safe System approach would move the city toward 2022 City Council adopted priorities by enabling more active lifestyles, benefitting the mental and physical health and safety of Palo Alto residents, and advancing environmentally sustainable transportation choices that help to address climate change.

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Find out more details here about the Safe System approach.

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