Remarks as prepared
Good afternoon Mayor Turner and City Councilmembers, my name is Ines Sigel and I am the Director of Communications and Outreach at LINK Houston. LINK Houston advocates for a robust and equitable transportation network so that all people can reach opportunity.
We are here today with the People for Safe Streets coalition to share concerns regarding safety for all people using the road. You will hear from advocates and community members, including those who tragically lost a child, parent, and a friend in a crash, about the dire impacts of this public safety issue. We share a concern that is the #1 priority of every government: keeping people safe.
Houston has some of the highest crash fatalities. The federal government places the value of preventing a single roadway fatality at $9.6 million. LINK Houston’s own crash analysis determined that ped/bike crashes impacted over 8,000 people across Houston from 2013-2017 with an impact of billions of dollars. This is unacceptable.
We identified priority intersections and recommended steps for the city to improve safety for all people. Mayor Turner, we commend you for committing to investigate and improve those priority intersections, which resulted in two Road Safety Audits with the Federal Highway Administration. LINK Houston is pleased and grateful to have been a part of these audits.
The Audits provide short- and long-term recommendations for engineering improvements, in addition to identifying education and enforcement opportunities. We are asking that the sort-term recommendations are prioritized now so that our communities can become safer.
We know this public safety issue is complex. It requires a multi-department strategy which includes design and engineering, but also enforcement and educational campaigns for a holistic approach to improve mobility safety. A transportation safety official should be appointed to mange this effort.
The City recently held public meetings to brief residents on the Capital Improvement Plan. We hope to see safety and accessibility prioritized in the upcoming CIP. And we urge Public Works to share its strategy for addressing the concerns in the Road Safety Audits for at least three intersections before June 2019.
We have a serious public safety crisis in Houston. Too many of our fellow Houstonians are getting hurt or killed while driving, walking, or biking. As Houston’s population continues to grow, we need to ensure that our infrastructure and regulations accommodate the needs of all residents. If we want to be a growing, innovative, economically competitive global city, we must prioritize safety, including in our transportation, so that all Houstonians can safely reach opportunities.
Thank you for your time and attention.
April 2, 2019