‘I’m fed up as well’: Madison’s Mayor says latest East Washington fatality reemphasizes importance of ‘Vision Zero’

MADISON, Wis.– By day, East Washington is an ‘avenue.’ By night, east-siders say many drivers treat it like a highway.

“I’m fed up as well,” said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, who lives on the city’s east side. “I can hear the speeders on a regular basis. I think it’s totally unacceptable.”

Last year, Rhodes-Conway unveiled Vision Zero, the city’s plan to eliminate all traffic deaths by the year 2030.

“That’s an ambitious goal, but you really can’t accept any fatalities,” the mayor said.

Vision 2030 includes lowering speed limits, narrowing lanes, installing high-visibility crosswalks, and increasing traffic enforcement. Since May 1, MPD officers have issued more than 200 tickets and 250 warnings to drivers. Speeding tickets can result in fines of $435 and a six-point penalty on your driver’s license.

WATCH: City of Madison joins ‘Vision Zero’ plan

“Enforcement isn’t a long-term thing that changes behavior,” Rhodes-Conway acknowledged.

She says education and engineering must go along with enforcement, before the city sees any real change. The mayor has been talking with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg about how the new infrastructure bill could help that happen.

“I invite people to take a look in the mirror,” she said. “Any of us who are drivers have probably exceeded the speed limit at some point in our lives. We need to take that seriously. That’s not okay.”

The latest hit-and-run tragedy, which killed a 30-year-old man near Festival Foods, is a reminder of that.

“You can’t accept any traffic fatalities,” Rhodes-Conway said.

The mayor recently released an updated draft of the city’s Vision 2030 plan, which she hopes the city council will adopt soon.

Click here to learn more.