Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise is set to announce the launch of a Vision Zero Task Force at a ceremony in Washington Park on Thursday.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“We have heard the concerns of residents and the calls for action from community leaders regarding road safety. I believe this new task force, along with the development of our Vision Zero Action Plan, will put us a on a path to address those concerns and make county roadways safer for everyone,” DeGise said in a statement.
The ceremony is slated to begin at 10 a.m. and the county exec said his chief of staff and likely successor, Craig Guy – the Democratic nominee for the post who does not have a Republican challenger this fall – as his representative on the task force.
While the executive order does not requir Hudson County Board of Commissioners approval, much of the future legislation resulting from the County’s coming Vision Zero Action Plan likely will.
Board Chair Anthony Romano expressed his support for the new task force as a means to move the plan forward.
“Our Vision Zero Action Plan must reflective of all our residents needs when it comes to improving road safety,” he began.
“In a traffic-congested county where vehicle parking is strained to the limit and we face new challenges when it comes to sharing our roadways and sidewalks safely, the plan must address these challenges sensibly. My hope is the Task Force will help ensure that.”
Additionally, County Commissioner William O’Dea (D-2), a longtime champion of Vision Zero approaches to improve road safety, welcomed the new task force as well.
“If our county roads are truly going to reflect Vision Zero principles, then the task force must seek out best practices and welcome counsel drawn from a diverse range of voices,” stated O’Dea.
“Making our streets safer for everyone starts with listening to those we serve. I will continue to press the administration and the new task force to do so as we move toward the adoption of a Vision Zero Action plan for the county.”
As laid out in the Executive Order to be signed Thursday, the Vision Zero Task Force will “ensure coordination among county departments, city governments, regional agencies, and community groups.”
“The task force will unify the relevant operations of all county departments and bring to the table members of community groups that engage Hudson County’s communities of concern and residents interested in safer streets.”
Furthermore, the specific goals of the task force will be to:
• Guide the development of Hudson County’s Vision Zero Action Plan, which will outline the strategies that will lead to the elimination of all traffic-related fatalities and severe injuries.
• Provide insight, data, updates on local traffic safety projects, share effective strategies, and build consensus in decision making.
• Assist the County with publishing a Vision Zero Action Plan which shall provide policy makers with a comprehensive proposal to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries on Hudson County roadways and which shall propose both short-term and long-term data-driven strategies, complete with measurable goals.
• Ensure transparency in sharing decision making, Vision Zero documents, outreach summaries, and crash data to be shared through the Hudson County Vision Zero website.
• Engage the public through the County’s Vision Zero outreach campaign in the planning process. Develop and distribute outreach materials and assist with engaging all residents of Hudson County with a focus on vulnerable populations and residents who have been historically underrepresented in planning and decision making.
• Integrate public feedback on traffic safety concerns and desired traffic safety improvements into plan actions.
• Create an inclusive dialogue with community regarding the contributing factors of crashes and addressing the safety concerns of everyone who uses the County’s transportation network.
• Track the progress on the Actions being led and supported by each agency as specified in the Vision Zero Action Plan.
• Produce annual progress reports that will be shared with the public.