Kids Asking City Hall for Safer Streets
Kids and parents will be delivering over 250 Street Safety postcards and Bike/Walk District Reports to the Alders in City Hall for a Kidical Lobby Day on Thursday, June 29 at 9:45 AM – 11 AM. Families will meet at Red Arrow Park at 9:45 and head to City Hall at 10am to deliver advocacy messages to each Alder and then enjoy celebratory ice cream cones outside of City Hall (Market side). Kids and many city residents want to be able to walk across, bike in, and feel safe in our streets. In Milwaukee, thirteen people have been killed while walking in half of the year with 14 being killed in all of last year. We have a pedestrian safety problem and it’s getting worse. Our streets are not safe enough and kids are getting active to make streets safer for all.
Kids and families are invited to join Kidical Lobby Day. If you don’t have kids or can’t make it, fill out a postcard at the Bike Fed office or a virtual one here before Thursday and get involved in all the adult focused advocacy work we do! Thursday is about empowering kids and reminding our representatives that streets need to serve the needs of our youngest residents as well. Together, we can have fun, make a difference, and make Milwaukee a better place where neighbors can walk and bike easily and better know each other.
Dozens of Milwaukee residents have been killed and thousands seriously hurt while simply trying to cross streets in the past six years, and pedestrian deaths across the country are surging. A Governor’s Highway Safety Council report estimates that in 2016, the United States endured its largest annual increase in pedestrian fatalities since such record keeping began 40 years ago. In Wisconsin, the increase was 4.8 percent; any increase in people killed while walking is not acceptable. People driving must do a better job looking for pedestrians, yielding to them, and avoiding distractions.
According to another report, Dangerous by Design, the city of Milwaukee has 10.4 percent of Wisconsin’s population but 29.1 percent of pedestrian crashes in the state. Further, people of color in Wisconsin are almost twice as likely to be a victim of a crash while crossing the street, the 10th highest disparity in the United States. The failure of people driving to yield to those walking is a major contributor: “28% [of pedestrian fatalities in Wisconsin between 2011-2013] involved a driver not yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.” In Wisconsin, people walking in marked and unmarked crosswalks have the right of way. All people driving should look for and yield to pedestrians; and avoid distractions.
“Everyone walks and deserves to do so without the threat of injury and death and we owe safe streets to our kids so they can be independent and explore the great city of Milwaukee. I urge every driver to follow the law look for and yield to people biking and walking at crosswalks, both marked and unmarked, we can not keep killing each other” says Jessica Wineberg, MilWALKee Walks coordinator.
MilWALkee Walks is a community coalition that has met with Milwaukee Police Chief Flynn to discuss how to decrease crashes. MPD is working in partnership with MilWALKee Walks and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation on increasing enforcement of the crosswalk law in an equitable way.