Zero accidents is our goal. Driving 30 kilometres an hour in neighbourhoods is one of the ways we'll get there together.
By Jay Robb
Published April 09, 2014
When it comes to pedestrian safety, there can only be one goal for Hamilton. That goal is zero. Zero pedestrians hit by cars. Zero fatalities. Zero injuries.
If it's not zero, than what's the acceptable number? And who'd like to explain that number to a family who've just had someone they love hurt or worse in an accident?
We don't have to wait to get to zero. We don't have to wait for a council resolution, staff report, public consultation, pilot project or major roadwork. We can start today. Right now. You and me.
We can lead by example. We can choose to take our foot off the accelerator when driving through neighbourhoods, past schools, parks and playgrounds.
We can choose to drive 30 kilometres along James North, Locke Street, Concession Street and King Street West in Dundas and Westdale. Our choice will leave everyone driving behind us with no choice. They'll have to slow down too.
Not everyone will like it. Some drivers will be impatient. They'll lean on their horns. Flip us the finger.
But the pedestrians on the sidewalks - the families, kids and seniors - will thank us for it. And so too will the people waiting for them at home.
30 km/h speed limit in Hamilton's North End (RTH file photo)
We don't have to go it alone. We can recruit more drivers with an awareness campaign.
Let's turn a traditional selling feature for cars on its head (zero to 60 in under seven seconds) and roll out a 30 to Zero campaign in Hamilton.
Zero accidents is our goal. Driving 30 kilometres in neighbourhoods is one of the ways we'll get there together.
Find a Hamilton marketing and PR firm willing to share their expertise in building and rolling out a winning campaign. Recruit media partners that will help spread the word and make 30 to Zero a club that everyone wants to join.
Make 30 to Zero a very public campaign. Invite drivers to sign up to slow down. Extend an invitation for our political, business and community leaders to do the same. Let's sign a pledge, with our names added to an online honour roll. Give us bumper stickers, wallet cards, buttons and signs for our dashboards, storefronts and front lawns to show our support.
Make the 30 to Zero campaign personal. Ease up on the facts, stats and studies and tell us stories instead. Aim for our hearts first and our heads will follow.
Introduce us to the kids who live in Hamilton's neighbourhoods. Remind us why the children cross the road. To get to school, the library and park. To go to soccer games, swimming lessons and piano practices. To go on playdates, visit grandparents and walk the dog. Have the kids speak to us directly, asking us to slow down and stay alert when driving through their neighbourhoods.
Make the 30 to Zero campaign rewarding. Line up BIAs and Hamilton proud businesses for giveaways, discounts, special offers and promotions for drivers who've pledged support to the 30 to Zero campaign. Catch us in the act of driving responsibly and putting pedestrians first.
Give me a coupon for a free Chuck's Burger and I'll bring my family, park the minivan and join the crowds walking the sidewalks on Locke. Your neighbourhood will no longer be just a place I drive through to get somewhere else.
Use the 30 to Zero campaign to remind us of what matters most. When we get behind the wheel, we're not just drivers. We're moms and dads, grandparents, uncles and aunts, big brothers and sisters.
Nothing is more important than our kids. There's nothing we wouldn't do, give or sacrifice for our children. Slowing down is a small and easy sacrifice that all of us can make for everyone's kids. I'm counting on you to look out for my son and daughter. And you can count on me to do the same with your kids.
Zero parents in Hamilton should be ever get that phone call or knock on the door from a police officer, telling them their child has been hit and hurt while crossing a street.
So let's start today with our morning commutes. You and me with our feet off the accelerator. Thirty to zero.
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