How Do We Get Safe Streets?
There are ways to advocate for safe streets at every level of government. If we want to achieve the goal of zero roadway deaths on Detroit’s streets we must address each level together. The way we get this done is each one of us choosing something to focus on and directing our energy into achieving that in the name of safe streets.
The City of Detroit develops an annual budget to try and reflect the needs and desires of residents for where to spend the money they receive in taxes and from State/Federal revenue sharing. Additionally, the City Council has opportunities to approve local development, enact local ordinances, and craft the city budget. Beyond this, as residents, we can demand fast action on the local scale to test safe street measures on our local streets.
Wayne County is responsible for several roads that connect into and through the City of Detroit. They receive dedicated funding to maintain and design those roads. Each time this happens it is an opportunity to design a safer road that reduces the likelihood of a crash leading to a fatal injury. Regionally, we have the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) who supports the development planning throughout the region. They can help to lead to a future of zero deaths on our roadways.
The State of Michigan is a major player in that not only do they have budgetary powers to influence change, but they can write laws that allow for safe streets to happen much faster. There are significant measures which past Michigan legislatures have outlawed making it illegal for a city or municipality to take action to make streets safer. By working with our elected officials, we can enact the changes needed today while we fight for a better designed tomorrow.
The Federal Government has tremendous capability for making our streets safer, but they also have the power to keep our local and State governments from doing what is right. The Federal Government passes budgets and laws that have an impact, but they also have federal agencies directed by the President which can determine how laws are enacted which can lead to safer streets or even more dangerous ones depending on how they leverage their power.