Jeramey Jannene

Mayor Cavalier Johnson Selected For National Pedestrian Safety Initiative

Milwaukee is one of nine cities in new program.

By - Apr 13th, 2023 03:05 pm
Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Mayor Cavalier Johnson in December 2021. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The City of Milwaukee and Mayor Cavalier Johnson will be among the nine initial participants in the Mayors Institute on Pedestrian Safety.

“Across the country, mayors are working to save lives and find solutions that make their streets safer for all users. This work will support local efforts and create replicable models for cities around the country struggling with these common challenges,” said Katya Spear, managing director of the Mayors Innovation Project, in a statement. “We are so grateful to this group of mayors for showing leadership on this issue.”

The inaugural cohort will exchange success stories, discuss challenges and receive one-on-one coaching focused on developing an implementation plan. The program consists of five virtual sessions throughout the next five months and an in-person summit in October. According to its website, the institute will cover the cost of travel and lodging.

Johnson will join Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and the mayors of Emeryville, CA, Knoxville, TN; Lancaster, PA; Princeton, NJ; Rochester, NY and Stamford, CT. Milwaukee is the largest participating city.

“The streets are for everyone and everyone should feel safe using them whether they are driving a car, biking, walking, or other. Pedestrian safety is a top priority of mine and I look forward to continuing to collaborate and create policy that makes streets safer in Milwaukee,” said Johnson in a statement.

The initiative is a partnership between the Mayors Innovation Project, AARP Livable Communities and Smart Growth America. The Mayors Innovation Project is hosted by the University of Wisconsin “think-and-do-tank” Center on Wisconsin Strategy.

The pedestrian safety institute is one of several announcements to follow Johnson’s December 2021 declaration, his first act in office, of reckless driving as safety crisis in the city. The city adopted a Vision Zero policy last summer, joined the safety-focused National Association of City Transportation Officials in January and created a new “Vision Zero czar” job in the mayor’s office. Using funding from various sources, the Department of Public Works reports it will construct 50 traffic calming projects in 2023.

According to Wisconsin Department of Transportation statistics, 111 people were killed in traffic facilities in Milwaukee County in 2022, 87 in 2021, 101 in 2020 and 74 in 2019. Eighteen fatalities have been reported in 2023. The totals include those in vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists.

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