SANTA MONICA—Santa Monica officials have been re-evaluating how safe their streets are, after several incidents involving pedestrian deaths. The Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously to potentially expand and speed up plans to make streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, according to a press release from the city of Santa Monica.

Councilmember Gleam Davis proposed hiring a “Vision Zero Czar,” which will help to implement the city’s plan in eliminating Santa Monica pedestrian fatalities. The czar would be in charge of communicating and coordinating with other city agencies to make improvements, which include traffic signals, sidewalk size, and crosswalks.
Key elements include:
– Project design: define and construct projects to improve the safety for people using the street.
– Operations: implement operational changes to reduce vehicle speeds that threaten pedestrian and bike safety.
– Programs: support programs that educate people walking, biking and driving.
– Behavior and Enforcement: encourage safe behaviors for all road users and enforce distracted driving violations, speeding, etc.
-Walkability: promote walkable environments for people and activities.

City Manager Rick Cole will make the final decision, as he must consider the ideas themselves and the effect it has on the community and budget. The city of Santa Monica already allocated over $187 million for pedestrian safety improvements, according to the Santa Monica Lookout.

Achieving Vision Zero will include:

-Build and sustain leadership.

-Create a Task Force for interagency collaboration.

-Develop and adopt a Vision Zero Action Plan.

-Change design practices and invest in roadway redesign for greater protection.

-Create an interagency communication and education campaign for Vision Zero.

-Collect, Analyze and Use Data to inform action, and share it.

After Vision Zero was adopted in 2016, a dozen new scramble crosswalks were introduced into the city, in addition to approved plans for the redesigning of Lincoln Boulevard.

Davis has brushed off concerns of additional costs by saying, “I don’t want to create a situation where we think if only we’d spent a little more money, we could have avoided a tragedy.”