Dallas pushing for traffic safety – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth | #citycouncil

Dallas City Council members pressed the city’s transportation director and police officials for answers Wednesday, about how the city can reduce traffic deaths and injuries.

Some council members requested a full briefing after an NBC 5 investigation raised questions about a lack of progress on the city’s Vision Zero road safety action plan. In 2022 the council committed to eliminating traffic deaths and cutting the number of serious injuries in half by 2030.

“We only have six years left. And so do we have each of the years set out to go, here’s how we’re going to get there?” questioned Dallas City Council member Jaynie Schultz.

“We’re working towards it but to tell you that I have the complete plan today, definitely I’m going to say I don’t have it complete. However, we’re working at it and progressing towards that”, responded Gus Khankarli, the Dallas Transportation Department Director

Questions and comments about the plan seemed to flow as fast as Dallas traffic as council members asked how the city is working to identify the most dangerous roadways, and how it can implement both quick-fix and longer-term safety measures.

In November, an NBC 5 investigation revealed Dallas has the highest traffic death rate among America’s 10 largest cities, and speed is the number one factor in fatal crashes in the city, according to TxDOT data.

At Wednesday’s briefing council member Paul Ridley pointed out that the city’s yearly traffic death toll is roughly equal to the number of murders in recent years.

“Two hundred lost their lives on Dallas streets last year. That’s not nothing,” said Ridley.

In a lengthy briefing, Khankarli gave his most detailed public explanation yet of his staff’s efforts to address the city’s most dangerous roads. He said the city’s latest data analysis shows just 7% of streets now account for 57% of severe injury and fatal crashes.

But Khankarli said funding and staffing challenges limit what he can do to change those streets quickly, in a city where many streets were designed long ago like highways, built to move traffic fast more than for safety.

Khankarli said staff will continue to identify places where they can narrow lanes to slow high speeds — sometimes called a road diet.

“What kind of appetite do we have for road diets?” questioned council member Jaime Resendez.

“We’re open when we conduct our study and the data shows that it can be done,” responded Khankarli.

Some council members requested Wednesday’s briefing after an NBC 5 investigation revealed a draft report showing the transportation department had not implemented many action items in the Vision Zero plan.

An updated transportation department briefing presentation still shows 23 Vision Zero action items not complete or not started, and 19 complete.

The Vision Zero action plan was formally adopted in 2022 but the council first embraced Vision Zero as a strategy back in 2019.

Khankarli said Wednesday that progress has been slowed in part by a long list of unexpected local and world events.

“Obviously we had a few incidents that we had to deal with along the way – a tornado, a deep freeze, a few storms, the pandemic, supply chain and logistics along the way,” Khankarli said.

Khankarli said his department would address dangerous streets using engineering strategies while working with other city departments to enhance traffic enforcement and public safety education campaigns.

Some council members said they felt the detailed briefing seemed to mark a shift toward greater action, and said they hope that future progress can be swifter.

“I’m still frustrated that we as a city can’t do more”, said District 1 Councilman Chad West.

Click Here For This Articles Original Source.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *