Pedestrian deaths in Los Angeles have surged more than 80 percent in the first two years of a high-profile initiative launched by Mayor Eric Garcetti to eliminate traffic fatalities, according to new data reported Wednesday.
In 2015, 74 people on foot were killed by drivers in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reported. That figure rose to 134 in 2017, the highest number in more than 15 years. Overall, the number of bicyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and drivers killed in collisions on city streets fell last year by 6 percent to 244, according to preliminary police data released by the city Transportation Department and cited by The Times.
In 2015, Garcetti signed an executive order creating the Vision Zero initiative, which set the goal of eliminating traffic deaths on city streets by 2025. It called for reductions of 20 percent by 2017 and 50 percent by 2020.
The 6 percent decline in 2017 falls well short of that goal, and the city's slow progress suggests reducing fatalities by half in the next three years will be difficult, according to The Times.
"Every life is important and we must keep pushing to do better" Garcetti said Tuesday in a statement to The Times, saying he was proud the city had reduced deaths overall in 2017. "Safety is our top priority, and we will continue to set bold goals."
The 2017 statistics were included in a report scheduled to be discussed today at a City Council transportation committee hearing. The L.A. data are on par with national trends, which show that more pedestrians are dying, and drivers are more distracted, Transportation Department spokesman Oliver Hou said in an email to The Times.
Figures on traffic deaths across the country are not yet available for 2017, but in the previous year, pedestrian deaths rose 9 percent nationally and 42 percent in Los Angeles.