City of Milwaukee ramps up efforts to combat reckless driving

NOW: City of Milwaukee ramps up efforts to combat reckless driving

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The city is launching an updated campaign to address reckless driving.

Friday, Mayor Cavalier Johnson joined police and other community partners to announced the initiative. The "Think Twice" campaign hopes to provide education and reminders to the community of the dangers of reckless driving.

Others involved in the efforts include Near West Side Partners, American Family Insurance, Business Improvement District 10, and the Wisconsin Bike Federation.

The city is giving out yard signs that support the message about safe driving. The signs have QR codes linked to online tips and PSA videos.

"Folks are probably aware that my administration takes reckless driving very, very seriously and that's why I wanted to be here to support this initiative," said Johnson.

Milwaukee police say last year, 68 people died in traffic-related incidents. This year, that number sits at 48 so far.

"Countless other people have been injured in reckless driving incidents so it's good that we come together to have these conversations, because the police department can't do it alone. We need the community's help," said Captain Raymond Bratchett from MPD District 3.

Residents say reckless driving is a daily occurrence in their neighborhoods.

"Just the other day I was coming down the street, a guy comes from way back on the right and jumps over into the left lane. We're at the red light and he just takes left....c'mon now," said Valerie Langston.

Langston, a longtime Milwaukee resident, says it's heartbreaking to see so many losing their lives in such a senseless way.

She plans to pass out some of the "Think Twice" yard signs to spread the word about this new campaign.

In addition to the yard signs, other steps are being taken to curb the problem. The most recent initiative to combat reckless driving on Vliet Street is a newly-installed wooden structure called a parklet.

"It helps reduce the passing on the right. It's a big problem here. People see a gap and they'll shoot around, so they can't do that," said Jake Newborn, assistant director, Wisconsin Bike Federation.

Officials say parklets are designed for spaces that are traditionally in need of traffic calming to help encourage people to slow down. The space also has seating to encourage neighbors to enjoy the outdoors of their neighborhood and spend time at local businesses.

Other efforts taken by Near West Side Partners include the installation of "traffic calming planters" and cameras along 27th Street.

The hope is that rethinking the way our streets are designed will encourage drivers to slow down. There are similar projects such as curb extensions in the works in other parts of the city.

Mayor Johnson says this campaign is expanding on existing efforts to curb the problem. He's encouraging residents across the city to report reckless drivers when they witness it.

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