Watch Tamika Butler’s Vision Zero Cities Keynote

L.A. County Bicycle Coalition Executive Director put the question to advocates: "Can Vision Zero work in a racist society?"

tamika_butler_keynote

Last week at Transportation Alternatives’ Vision Zero Cities conference, LA County Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Tamika Butler delivered a strong message to attendees from around the country: Vision Zero does not exist in a bubble, separate from America’s history and ongoing repression of people of color — and advocates cannot leave the work of addressing that solely to the people of color in their ranks.

In her speech, which you can watch in full below, Butler recounts the story of Joe Bray-Ali, a prominent L.A. bike advocate whose City Council campaign was upended earlier this month by the discovery of racist and transphobic comments he’d posted online. Two years ago, Bray-Ali publicly attacked Butler and others for raising concerns about LAPD’s role in Vision Zero enforcement.

“You have to think about the other things that are going on in our communities,” Butler said. “If there are only folks of color doing the work to make this industry better, it won’t get better.”

Here is her talk in full:

You can read Butler’s contribution to TransAlt’s Vision Zero Cities journal, which touches on the same themes, here.

  • ? At the risk of repeating myself, I shall repeat myself.

    Sweden’s Vision Zero is not about enforcement at all. No doubt they have some sort of traffic enforcement, but it was not part of the Vision Zero Initiative. In the U.S., for some reason, we just took our existing “Three Es” — one of those Es being enforcement — and slapped the words “Vision Zero” on them. Same old approach, same old results.

    So now we have police hassling targeted communities with a new label applied to it, and that label is now justly seen as bad news. Butler is entirely right to criticize it. But the real Vision Zero approach that has real benefits has been lost.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Rosanne Ferruggia of Chicago DOT and Sam Sinyangwe of Campaign Zero at yesterday's Vision Zero Cities panel. Photo: David Meyer

Addressing Racism and Police Brutality in Traffic Enforcement

|
Police brutality and racial inequities in criminal justice must be addressed by advocates and agencies aiming to reduce traffic fatalities. That's the key takeaway from a Vision Zero Cities panel yesterday on police violence and traffic enforcement. "Vision Zero cannot be a reason to overly-police black and brown bodies," said Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Tamika Butler. "You can’t ignore the country we live in."
STREETSBLOG USA

LA County Bike Coalition’s Tamika Butler on Planning While Black

|
Too often, says Tamika Butler, the people responsible for planning cities don’t look like the people who live in cities. In her keynote address from this week’s NACTO Designing Cities conference, she considers some of the ramifications. Butler is executive director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and a national leader in the field of active transportation and racial justice. Her talk begins […]
STREETSBLOG USA

What Would a National Vision Zero Movement Look Like?

|
Earlier this week, New York-based Transportation Alternatives released a statement of 10 principles that emerged from the Vision Zero symposium the group sponsored last Friday. It was the first-ever national gathering of thought leaders and advocates committed to spreading Vision Zero’s ethic of eliminating all traffic deaths through better design, enforcement, and education. I caught […]

De Blasio to Stand With Traffic Violence Victims Sunday, and So Can You

|
Sunday is World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. In New York City, Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets will mark the occasion with a memorial walk from City Hall to the United Nations. NYC has seen an unusual string of pedestrian fatalities concentrated in the last two weeks, but the carnage is steady year-round. City drivers […]

This Week: Vision Zero, JSK Book Launch, Fixing Chrystie Street

|
Registration has closed for Transportation Alternatives’ 2016 Vision Zero Conference, coming up at the end of this week, but if you couldn’t snag a ticket there’s still plenty to do in the world of safe streets advocacy. Former Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is out with a new book, Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution, about how to make change […]