AUSTIN TEXAS — It was early Saturday morning when Daniel Joseph Rayos, 31, was driving his silver 2008 Nissan Sentra down Farm to Market 2222 when Austin cops state he drifted off the right side of the street and struck the guard rail head-on. He died at the scene. His death marked the 33rd traffic death Austin has seen in 2017– it’s the same number of deaths at this time in 2015.
In an effort to curb traffic deaths that take place on Austin roadways, the city council embraced a plan called Vision Zero in May of 2016. The objective is to carry out different safety improvements for drivers, bicycle riders, commuters, and walkers through the year 2025 to decrease the number of deaths to zero. While it’s one year into the plan, the number of deaths until now have not changed.
” We know those numbers will change year to year, however this is truly a long-term tactical approach to dramatically reduce the number of severe injuries and deaths over time,” states Laura Dierenfield, division supervisor, Austin Transportation Department.
On KXAN News Today, Kate Weidaw is LIVE at one of the hazardous intersections that have recently seen modifications.
Tuesday night the Austin Transportation Department supplied its annual report card to the Urban Transportation Commission on what has been done to improve safety over the past year. As an outcome of the Vision Zero plan, the city has 28 miles of new or improved bike lanes, 68 new pedestrian crossings, 548 new ADA curb sidewalk ramps, improved access to 102 bus stops, and 14 miles of new or enhanced walkways completed in 2016.
Austin police officers have likewise stepped up their enforcement which has led to 117 DUI’s and 753 citations for distracted driving. The department also extended “no tolerance weekends” to extend every weekend this summer.
“We’re taking a look at safety improvements for pedestrians, shortening crossing points, making it much safer for bicyclists, as well as for transit users making bus stops more accessible and making all turns more secure for drivers,” says Dierenfield.
Three million dollars in enhancements have been invested in Austin’s second most dangerous cross-way, Lamar Boulevard and Rundberg Lane. New raised medians, crosswalks, and traffic control crossing beacons have been included. In all, 9 city departments work in conjunction to make enhancements in an effort to fulfill the 2025 goal of absolutely no deaths on Austin roadways.