The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously decided Tuesday to implement Vision Zero in the county's unincorporated areas.
The ambitious traffic safety concept -- already in motion in cities like Berkeley and San Francisco -- strives to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries through a "safe system" approach emphasizing infrastructure improvements, like redesigned roads, more sidewalks, traffic circles, more signage and other traffic calming measures.
Supervisor Diane Burgis, whose District 3 in East County features lots of rural roads -- said she was very impressed and happy with the staff report.
"This isn't only making the road efficient, it's also making it safer, and I just appreciate that we are expanding how we approach these types of things to make things after and consider all the different things to make them safer, including the statistics that we see in different places," Burgis said.
A staff report noted 2,256 traffic collisions resulting in injuries of any severity in unincorporated Contra Costa from 2014 to 2018, and 252 that resulted in people being killed or severely injured (not including freeways). The number of annual collisions increased by 18% during those same years.
"The safe system approach understands that humans make mistakes and are vulnerable, but the responsibility is shared, safety is proactive, and redundancy is crucial," the report says. "The Vision Zero Action Plan aims to support a safety culture that includes education and engagement, cross-sector partnerships, emergency response and post-crash care, emerging technology implementation, and data collection and management."
The county has analyzed problem areas, including those without bicycle lanes and other areas inadequately protecting pedestrians. Countermeasures will be identified, some engineered and others through media campaigns and community partnerships.
Tuesday's approval means the county is fulfilling its requirement for the state's local road safety program, qualifying Contra Costa to receive one Bay Area grant and highway safety improvement program grant funding.
According to the report, Vision Zero "aims to eliminate fatal and severe injuries throughout unincorporated Contra Costa County by 2035."