Op Ed

Taking Back Our Streets

Reckless driving plagues the city. An new coalition of concerned citizens wants your suggestions.

By - Jul 17th, 2020 10:34 am
Cleanup after a single-vehicle crash on E. Mason St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Cleanup after a single-vehicle crash on E. Mason St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Traffic safety has become a huge concern on our streets. Repeated hit-and-run crashes have occurred in the City of Milwaukee within the past several years causing tragedy and distress for families and entire neighborhoods. Driving recklessly has become the new normal. Motorists running red lights and stop signs, drivers not yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk, cars operating in bicycle lanes, and vehicles speeding at excessive rates have all become too familiar on Milwaukee’s streets.

Recent crashes and fatalities due to reckless driving point to an urgent need for a solution that will make the roads a safer place for all who walk, bike, and drive. A group of concerned citizens has formed the Coalition for Safe Driving MKE and would like to hear your suggestions.

Data from the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation reported that vehicle crashes have increased annually between 2013 and 2018 in Milwaukee. An average of 13,697 crashes occur each year in the City of Milwaukee, causing an average of 6,310 injuries and 53 deaths annually. Statistics further show that speed was a factor in 37% of fatal crashes in 2015, and that number increased to 66% by 2019. This is simply not acceptable.

In an effort to combat reckless driving on a community level, we are seeking partnership with local organizations and community members to educate and raise the awareness of this critical issue and make necessary changes to reverse this trend.

Beginning in 2017, Northwest Side Community Development Corporation has partnered with the Milwaukee Police Department, elected officials, the Wisconsin Bike Fed, and neighborhood groups to host a series of rallies for safe driving where people gathered on the streets with signs that said “Slow Down,” “We Want Action,” and “Stop Means Stop” to show drivers that speeding and reckless driving are unacceptable.

In 2019, Alderman Michael Murphy and Alderwoman Chantia Lewis co-chaired the City-County Task Force on Carjacking and Reckless Driving in Milwaukee. They held meetings and conducted listening sessions to hear directly from residents and community leaders about their concerns and recommendations, focusing on how to address the issue of reckless driving. Some of the top recommendations from citizens were implementing more driver’s education and creating an awareness campaign.

Why is reckless driving such a big issue in Milwaukee? How can we as a community take a stand and take back our streets? The Coalition for Safe Driving MKE is seeking your support and suggestions. Please join us in advocating for safe driving on our streets. Check out Coalition for Safe Driving MKE on Facebook or email us at coalitionforsavedrivingmke@gmail.com and join our campaign to reduce reckless driving and promote safety on our streets.

Danitra Jones is a member of the Coalition for Safe Driving MKE.

2 thoughts on “Op Ed: Taking Back Our Streets”

  1. Mingus says:

    Some streets need more curb that bump out into the street to keep drivers from passing you on the right at 65 mph. We also need more elevated speed bumps called “speed tables” on residential streets. In Chicago neighborhoods, they are a regular installation on many streets.

  2. mkeumkenews09 says:

    High school Driver’s Ed classes – classroom and behind the wheel.

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