Pedestrian Safety Task Force Proposal Aims to Eliminate Traffic Fatalities in Indianapolis
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Pedestrian Safety Task Force Proposal Aims to Eliminate Traffic Fatalities in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS — A new proposal by the Indianapolis City-County Council would create a task force to safely eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2035.

The main goal of the task force is to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

People ride bikes, walk, and run on city streets and sidewalks every day, especially during the warmer months of the year. But Indianapolis is no stranger to tragedies involving pedestrians.

In fact, one local pedestrian safety group has been collecting data for the past few years that suggests the problem is only getting worse. According to the Indy Pedestrian Safety Crisis, there will be a combined 455 incidents involving pedestrians and cyclists in 2022, a combined 684 in 2023, and 391 incidents this year.

Pedestrian Safety Task Force Proposal Aims to Eliminate Traffic Fatalities in Indianapolis

“Given where we are right now, we are well on track to potentially be setting ourselves up for the deadliest year we’ve ever seen,” said Eric Holt, founder of the Indy Pedestrian Safety Crisis.

According to Holt’s data, 45 pedestrians and cyclists will die in accidents in 2022, 47 in 2023 and 23 people have died so far this year.

“The numbers have continued to increase month over month over the last year,” Holt said. “We continue to see it increase, and unfortunately we see numbers that show it’s getting worse. And unfortunately I think it’s going to continue to (get worse) unless we attack it aggressively as a city.”

According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization, pedestrian fatalities in the city increased by 25% between 2020 and 2023. That’s why members of the Indianapolis City-County Council want to establish a Vision Zero task force.

“This vision is about establishing a plan and an expectation that by 2035 we will eliminate traffic fatalities,” said City and County Councilman John Barth.

The proposal calls for a 15-person task force that would hold public meetings, gather community input, provide updates to the full council and develop an action plan that council could budget for annually.

Councilors say other cities across the country have successfully implemented Vision Zero strategies, including Columbus, Ohio; Hoboken, New Jersey; and Denver, Colorado.

“After listening to voters and experiencing it enough for ourselves, it’s time to act,” said City Councilman Andy Nielsen. “This is a solvable problem. It’s not just a lofty goal that we hope to achieve. It can be achieved, it just takes implementation and action.”

Safety advocates like Holt said they hope the task force will advance long-term solutions.

“Over time, it will definitely lead us in the right direction,” Holt said. “It’s not a magic pill that will go away overnight.”

The Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on the application on July 18 at 5:30 p.m.