Constituent Newsletter

No Texting while Driving

October 15, 2017

Dear Constituent:

Following the City Council’s unanimous adoption of Columbia’s Vision Zero Policy last December, City staff developed an Implementation Plan to achieve the goal of preventing all traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,477 people were killed, and 391,000 were injured, in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. To reduce the threat of distracted driving on Columbia’s roadways, I support the City’s proposal to expand the existing State ban on texting while driving for those under the age of 21, to apply to motorists of all ages. There’s no logic and absolutely no data to support the idea that it becomes safe to text and drive when you reach a certain age.

This broader law will not be used by police officers to profile or discriminate against any group, and will benefit residents of minority and low-income neighborhoods because those areas are disproportionately affected by traffic violence.

I expect the ban on texting while driving to be discussed by City Council in December, and I ask you to support this common-sense law, which will save lives and help us reach our Vision Zero goal.

Bike to the Future

As Columbia’s Vision Zero Team implements programs and policies designed to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes, alternative modes of transportation, such as walking, bicycling and public transit, will become safer and more attractive.

With that in mind, Bike to the Future is a local volunteer group that provides free bicycle transportation to adults in need in the community. During its first year of operation, about 100 re-furbished bicycles (with helmets, lights, and locks) have been given to homeless persons, those re-entering from prison, immigrants and refugees, and families who cannot afford a car.

Bike to the Future is an inter-denominational partnership that runs entirely on donations and volunteer energy, and there are several ways you can help:

  • Donate a second-hand bike
  • Volunteer with the bike repair team
  • Invite Dan Steska to speak to your social club
  • Contribute money

You will be helping to expand opportunities for people who do not have access to reliable transportation.

Building Inclusive Communities

Congratulations to the City of Columbia’s Building Inclusive Communities (BIC) team, which was tasked with developing and delivering high-quality inclusion, diversity, and equity training.

Over the last two years, more than 200 City employees, board/commission members, City Council members, and guests from other organizations have received 500 training hours of workshops, classes and other events. All of the BIC curriculum is eligible for the 40 hours of mandatory training which is required of each City employee.

I have participated in two all-day BIC programs, and recently attended (along with Council colleagues Karl Skala and Betsy Peters) a “Race, Equity, and Leadership” workshop presented by the National League of Cities. Starting next month, I plan to use this newsletter to share some of what I have learned and invite you all to join me in a community dialogue about poverty and racism.

Constituent Conversations

I will hold Constituent Conversations this afternoon (October 15th), and again on Sundays November 5th and 19th, 2-4pm at Dunn Bros. Coffee. Dates for Constituent Conversations are always available at my web site.

Cheers, Ian