In a New Report, Metro Acknowledges That a Multi-Million Dollar Vision Zero Plan Isn’t Working

Instead of the target seven percent decraese, Portland saw traffic fatalities increase by 17 percent.

(Wesley Lapointe)

Metro recently released its first annual report on Portland-area traffic fatalities and serious injuries, and things aren't looking so good.

The report tracks the progress of the region's Vision Zero plan, which aims to eliminate traffic deaths by 2035. Getting on track to achieve that goal would've required a seven percent decrease from 2015, when Vision Zero was approved, to 2018.

Instead, the three metro-area counties saw traffic fatalities increase by 17 percent.

The region failed to meet almost all of its goals, Bike Portland first reported. In fact, pedestrian and motor vehicle deaths and injuries have steadily increased since Vision Zero was implemented. Serious bicycle injuries is the only area that saw a decrease, dropping from an average of 33 per year from 2011-2015 to an average of 30 from 2014-2018. Cyclist deaths, however, have continued to increase.

WW reported last year on a similar pattern inside Portland proper: The transportation bureau has spent more than $100 million on reducing traffic deaths, only to see them increase.

The report confirms the same thing is happening across Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties: traffic deaths have been increasing over the last few years, despite regional efforts to curb fatalities. Metro's synopsis flatly acknowledges that its campaign has not so far been effective: "Based on the results of the performance measures, the region is not on track for achieving its Vision Zero goal."

Portland has already seen 11 traffic fatalities this year, putting the city on pace to match last year's 50 deaths, the highest toll in decades.

Related: Two of Portland's Eight Traffic Fatalities in 2020 Appear to be People Who Were Sleeping on the Sidewalk

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