In the first quarter of our 2012 collaborative project on Safe Streets, we promised that we were going to keep eyes, ears and brains open to the fullest possible range of ideas, approaches and policies that promise, each in their own way, to somehow take on and perhaps do something about increasing the safety of our streets. Of course, we have our own ideas on this topic (who doesn’t?), but it seems preferable before sounding off from the bully pit to see if we can first challenge our thinking and in that process collect information and views from the wide variety of perspectives, including those which at first glance seem to be probably pretty unpromising. All this in harmony with our long-held belief that “you never know where the next good idea is going to come from”.
Here is an interesting example which at first (hasty!) glance struck me as a clear nonstarter. But in the spirit of equal time I read on anyway, as I now encourage you to do, and if when you have made your way through it you have comments you would like to share with us, it would be interesting to hear them. The reference point for the site is http://saferstreetsla.org/. Just below you will find some excerpts from their site, but agree with them or not, it is really worth a visit for your neurons.
Mission Statement: Safer Streets, Sensible Laws
Safer Streets L.A. is a grassroots organization dedicated to furthering the interests of the motoring public through the adoption of scientifically sound and sensible transportation and traffic laws. We adhere to the principle of “safety first” as opposed to the usual short-sighted approach of “enforcement first” as we understand that increased enforcement does not always result in safer streets. When it does, we support it. However, safety problems on our roadways are often the result of an engineering or information deficiency, not a willful driver behavior problem requiring increased enforcement and draconian fines.
We believe that accurate information and critical thinking are crucial to implementing sound public policy. Towards that end, we strive to provide the public and our elected representatives with well researched and verifiable data. Unfortunately, and all too often, government officials base their decisions on supposition and personal beliefs or information from those that have a vested interest in a higher citation rate and increased penalties. Our goal is to counter long-held misconceptions and self-serving misinformation with solid facts in order to promote scientifically based solutions to motorist and pedestrian safety issues. We all want safer streets. Our mission is to help us get there.
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For another sample of their approach, check out their latest article on “More Proof that Longer Yellow Signal Times Reduce Red Light Running Violations“.
And again that site address is: http://saferstreetsla.org
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Finally, may I invite you to consider this. What about this guy anyway? One person, name of Jay Beeber . One citizen who gets up off the coach and decides that he will do his bit for a safer city and safer streets. And it works! Is not there a lesson for us all. Deep Democracy is defined by active citizens and eternal vigilance. (There is a write-up on this in the LA Weekly here.
This just might be the bottom line of our entire 2012 program.
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