Mayor Cavalier Johnson appeared at an event last week where he released his new plan to combat reckless driving in Milwaukee. He was joined by community members and officials from across the city.
The event took place at Midtown Center, 5700 W. Capitol Dr., where five of the top 13 intersections for reported vehicle crashes in the city are located.
In 2021, 65 people in Milwaukee lost their lives due to senseless reckless driving acts, with many more seriously injured. There were also nearly 9,000 cars stolen in 2021, which is double the 2020 figure.
“As a parent with three children who resides in this city, and as someone who drives on these streets every day, I find these figures alarming and unacceptable,” Johnson said.
“Residents are rightfully terrified by dangerous driving speeds and reckless road behavior that has increased dramatically over recent years, and leaves residents feeling scared to drive their vehicles, ride their bicycles, or even walk across the street at many city intersections.”
“I’ve heard from more and more residents about how they now avoid driving on certain roads in the city for fear that they may be taking their life into their own hands,” Johnson continued. “I must ask, what good is a city if it cannot guarantee all of us safe passage to work or the store, or the safe passage of our children to and from school?”
Johnson thanked the new Milwaukee Police Department Chief Norman for his leadership and approaches that he and his department have started. The mayor said that he believes that most peoples’ views are that the city’s response hasn’t had the impact they need and expect, and residents are rightfully frustrated.
“I’m here today with many of our concerned partners to say, enough is enough,” Johnson proclaimed. “We can do better in City Hall and an all-hands-on-deck approach to take a stand against reckless driving will be my top priority.”
Johnson rolled out his S.T.A.N.D for Safer Streets plan. The elements of the plan include:
Safe Street Design – We need to design streets which prioritize safety for all users, encourage slow traffic speeds and reduce the likelihood of dangerous driving.
Traffic Enforcement – We need to support ongoing traffic enforcement to keep our streets safe.
Accountability – We need to ensure that existing penalties are being enforced and new strategies are employed to hold repeat offenders accountable.
Neighborhood Engagement – We need to engage the community, and give residents effective tools and resources to make safe decisions.
Demand Progress – We need to devote all resources necessary to continued action on reckless driving and increased coordination between stakeholders.
“This muti-faceted plan will immediately address the reckless driving crisis we face in our city,” Johnson said. “This effort will require our ongoing full support, and as mayor, I will put the full weight of my administration behind meaningful action every single day.”
Johnson followed the release of his plan by declaring reckless driving as a Public Safety Crisis in our community on his first day as mayor.
“I want to assure you that you have a leader in the Mayor’s Office who recognizes the urgency of this crisis,” Johnson concluded. “We are taking action. We aren’t standing still. We are coming together to show that with the strength of community behind us and a willingness to stand against this problem head on, that better days are indeed ahead for our city.”