COLUMBIA, Mo. - City staff and safety advocates kicked off a series of town halls Monday looking for ideas to reduce traffic deaths and serious injuries.
The town halls serve as the city's first step in engaging the community on its Vision Zero plan. The city wants to eliminate deaths and serious injuries by 2030.
The first town hall Monday focused on the city's Fourth Ward, the area between Scott Boulevard and Providence Road, south of Broadway. Data provided by the city's Vision Zero group shows there were seven fatal crashes in the ward from 2006-2016 and 40 serious injury crashes in the same time.
Many people at the meeting felt getting traffic to slow down would help make the city safer. Suggestions to do so ranged from more police enforcement of speeding cars to road design and safety features on roads such as speed tables and humps.
Annette Triplett, executive director of PedNet Coalition, said the group wants to hear about people's experiences with traffic safety to come up with the best plan.
The group wants to know "where are they concerned, where are they worried when they're out walking in their neighborhoods or where are they concerned when they're out driving and where there could be a potential crash if we don't try to address particular areas," Triplett said. "We are truly just trying to draw on their experiences."
Kristin Gadsden shared one of those stories Monday. Gadsden moved to the neighborhood northwest of where Broadway curves into Scott Boulevard. The church and private school in the neighborhood brings traffic daily, she said, and the nearby curve makes it more dangerous.
"For the parent drivers, the teen drivers coming into that neighborhood and leaving every day, for them to get onto Scott Boulevard at certain times of the day, I think is quite dangerous," Gadsden told ABC 17 News.
Triplett said the roads with higher speed limits in the Fourth Ward also experienced the most serious injury crashes in the last decade.
"As you slow the vehicle down, and there is a crash, it's less likely to lead to a death or serious injury," Triplett said.
A schedule for the remaining town halls can be found here.