Remove Police Enforcement from Vison Zero

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

Traffic stops make our streets less safe for Black, Brown, Immigrant and Indigenous communities.

Act now: tell the City of Atlanta to remove police enforcement from traffic safety.

On Friday, June 12th, unjust enforcement by two Atlanta police officers cost Rayshard Brooks his life. Police are sworn to serve and protect, not take the life of a father asleep in his car in a fast-food drive-through. While Atlanta underwent police reform following the Atlanta Police Department shooting of 92 year-old Kathryn Johnson in 2007, this is just one indication that the reforms did not work.

We stand with organizations calling for long-overdue changes to policing on our streets, some of which begin to address institutional racism in our transportation systems.

Today we sent a letter to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms calling on the City of Atlanta’s Department of Transportation Vision Zero program to remove police enforcement as a traffic safety tool.

For years, we have advocated for the City of Atlanta to adopt and implement Vision Zero policies to eliminate traffic fatalities. During the 2017 campaign for Vision Zero we said “While some U.S. cities include enforcement of traffic laws using traffic stops in their Vision Zero strategies, we do not support that strategy for Atlanta. …there has been growing interest in limiting law enforcement actions in Vision Zero.”

In addition, we add our voice to the chorus of organizations and individuals calling on the City of Atlanta to create full and transparent accountability of the Atlanta Police Department to communities; redirect a portion of the APD budget to much-needed social justice services and to commit to the ongoing fight to root out racism and white supremacy from all our systems and institutions.

Act now to call on the City of Atlanta to remove police enforcement as a traffic safety tool by signing this petition.

This is a collaborative effort of PEDS, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, Georgia STAND-Up, and TransFormation Alliance.

Sponsored by

To: Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
From: [Your Name]

Dear Mayor Bottoms,

Thank you for supporting Vision Zero during the 2017 campaign and for adopting it as the City’s official goal for safe mobility in April 2020. For years, we have called for the City of Atlanta to adopt and implement Vision Zero policies to eliminate traffic fatalities. In most cities in the United States, Vision Zero programs adopted the traffic engineering concept of the “Es”: Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, Evaluation, later adding Equity. But saying equity is not enough.

During the 2017 campaign for Vision Zero we said “While some U.S. cities include enforcement of traffic laws using traffic stops in their Vision Zero strategies, we do not support that strategy for Atlanta. …there has been growing interest in limiting law enforcement actions in Vision Zero.”

The racial disparity in police violence is staggering. Black people are dramatically more likely than whites to be killed by law enforcement. On Friday, June 12th, unjust enforcement by two Atlanta police officers cost Rayshard Brooks his life. Police are sworn to serve and protect, not take the life of a father asleep in his car in a fast-food drive-through. While Atlanta underwent police reform following the Atlanta Police Department shooting of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnson in 2007, recent events are just one indication that the reforms did not work. Traffic stops make our streets less safe for Black, Brown, Immigrant, and Indigenous communities.

We call on the City of Atlanta’s Department of Transportation Vision Zero program to remove police enforcement as a traffic safety tool

By eliminating police enforcement from the efforts to achieve zero traffic deaths, Atlanta will reduce potentially fatal or dangerous interactions with the police. We join national organizations including the Safe Route Partnership and a growing number of city groups in Minneapolis, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia in advocating for this reform.

Black and Brown advocates have pushed for this change for years. Fear of being targeted by the police creates barriers to walking or biking.

Atlanta must move beyond enforcement to prevention when it comes to the comprehensive safety of people on our streets. Instead of police enforcement, we call on the City of Atlanta to fulfill its commitment to rebuild streets for safety.

Start with neighborhoods where most residents are Black and which have been ignored in decision-making, seen their communities dissected and homes destroyed by highway construction, and still lack access to high-quality public transportation. These communities are both incredibly resilient and incredibly stressed. They are also disproportionately affected by traffic violence. Listen to these communities to determine whether and how to maintain a system of automated speed cameras as a tool to reduce high-speed crashes through evaluation and education. Use engineering and policy to make streets safer for everyone.

In addition, we add our voice to the chorus of organizations and individuals calling on the City of Atlanta to create full and transparent accountability of the Atlanta Police Department to communities; redirect a portion of the APD budget to much-needed social justice services such as Public Defenders, services for those unjustly incarcerated, and to fully fund and empower the Atlanta Citizen Review Board, among other pressing community needs; and to commit to the ongoing fight to root out racism and white supremacy from all our systems and institutions.

These measures will create a more equitable city, rather than a more violently-policed one. Thank you for your attention to these matters. We welcome your response and action.