WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Last year was the worst year in Florida for pedestrian deaths in three decades.
According to a study by the Governor's Highway Association, investigators blame the uptick in pedestrian deaths across the state on an increase in distracted driving and walking and more SUVs on the road.
However, the study points to programs like the "Vision Zero" initiative in West Palm Beach in helping to bring future numbers down. The goal in that program is to have zero fatalities and zero serious injuries on the roadways by the year 2030.
The city is proclaiming April 3 as "Vision Zero Florida Day."
"We are proud of the success Vision Zero West Palm Beach is already showing. Recent data shows a more than 20 percent decline for crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists from 2017-2018, which may be attributed to our efforts," said Tara Applebaum, Vision Zero Coordinator for the City of West Palm Beach. "Through this grant, we know we can increase that percentage even more. We look forward to working alongside the West Palm Beach Police Department to achieve this mutual goal."
The driving force behind the program is the three E's: engineering, education and enforcement.
With engineering, the city is committing to design better streets. Education includes public fairs and targeted outreach programs such as workshops for schools and older drivers. Enforcement of traffic laws and reviewing policy changes is also part of the campaign.
The next target areas are Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and the Broadway corridor. The city says it will begin working on planning studies to see how to make improvements in those areas. In the short term, they will look at things like signage and crosswalks.
One third of the crashes on Broadway involve bicyclists or pedestrians, according to the city.
For more information about Vision Zero, click here.