Two key legislative items passed today that Councilmember Charles Allen introduced: Vision Zero and the Office of Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard of Hearing. Background and quotes on each below:
Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus Act of 2020:
About: The DC Council unanimously approved, on second and final reading, Councilmember Charles Allen’s Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus Act, which puts in place sweeping requirements to increase transportation equity and improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers by requiring DDOT to develop a transit equity plan, forcing annual reviews of the most dangerous streets and intersections, requiring that big public space construction projects focus on improving safety and transportation equity, increasing penalties for contractors who do not restore crosswalks and bike lanes, limiting right on red, reducing speed limits, making it easier to make an intersection an all-way stop, and requiring large residential buildings to manage curb space to protect sidewalks and bike lanes from deliveries and rideshare parking.
Quote from Councilmember Allen: “The Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus on its own won’t get us to zero deaths on our roads, but I feel much more optimistic about our future than I did a year ago. The rise in deaths on our road this year, even while we are driving so much less, shows the urgency of taking bolder actions than we have in the past. This legislation is the beginning of that action. I look forward to working with the Mayor to see that it is funded and fully implemented. Nobody should lose a friend or loved one again simply because they took a walk to run an errand or a bike ride home.” Councilmember Allen added, “I’d like to thank my colleague Councilmember Mary Cheh for her leadership moving this bill through the Committee on Transportation and Environment and I am grateful to my colleagues for their support.”
Background: Introduced by Councilmember Allen on May 7, 2019 with co-introducers Councilmembers Robert White, Grosso, Nadeau, Bonds, Silverman, McDuffie and Todd, and co-sponsored by Chairman Mendelson and Councilmembers Gray and Evans. LIMS info: https://lims.dccouncil.us/Legislation/B23-0288
Office for the Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard of Hearing Establishment Act:
About: The legislation creates an office focused specifically on the needs of DC’s vibrant Deaf, Deafblind, and hard of hearing community. The new office will advocate for laws and policies that address the needs of the Deaf, Deafblind, and hard of hearing community in the District; will serve as a clearinghouse for high-quality ASL interpreters; and will develop a card that MPD officers will carry to improve communication with the Deaf, Deafblind, and hard of hearing community. Councilmember Allen today moved an amendment that will allow the new Office to create its own standards for determining that an ASL interpreter is qualified. Interpreters of color are underrepresented among interpreters certified through traditional channels, and this will allow the Office to increase the number of available, qualified interpreters of color in the District.
Quote: “The vast majority of states around the country have a stand-alone office dedicated to the needs of the Deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing communities. I’m glad that we are joining them today. I’m also glad that my Council colleagues joined me in making an amendment to the bill that will allow the new Office for the Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard of Hearing to give greater opportunities to American Sign Language interpreters of color who may not be certified through traditional channels. The District is lucky to have amazing advocates for the Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard of Hearing communities, and I look forward to continuing to work with them to endure that we are providing these communities with the needed services and opportunities.” Councilmember Allen added, “I’d like to thank my colleague Councilmember Brandon Todd for his leadership moving this bill through the Committee on Government Operations and I am grateful to my colleagues for their support.”
Background: Introduced by Councilmember Allen on February 19, 2019 with co-introducers Councilmembers Robert White, Evans, Grosso, Nadeau, and Bonds, and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Gray and Cheh.