CHICOPEE — Recently the Mayors Innovation Project announced a new group of local leaders for the second annual Mayors Institute on Pedestrian Safety which included Mayor John Vieau.

The program includes a partnership with AARP Livable Communities and Smart Growth America who select 10 mayors from a national competitive application pool of candidates.

Over the next six months, those chosen will meet virtually and in-person with national experts and each other to share experiences and identify solutions to their pedestrian safety challenges.

The group includes mayors from cities in Tennessee, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, California and Missouri.

Vieau talked about how it felt to be selected and work with mayors from communities across the country.

“It’s an amazing education opportunity,” Vieau said, “I am excited they accepted my application. To collaborate nationally with 10 mayors across the country to develop knowledge and skillset to champion our community and try and find out ways to keep things safe, especially our pedestrians.”

The Mayors Institute on Pedestrian Safety looks aims to help mayors develop their knowledge and skillset to implement safer communities for people of all ages. Each mayor will receive training and resources from top experts in the field allowing them to make immediate safety improvements on dangerous streets in their respective communities.

Vieau discussed that he hopes to learn more about pedestrian safety and bring those recommendations to Chicopee.

He said, “I talk about transportation; I talk about the hope to get the Safe Street [and Roads] for All grant. We have already done some work based on input from the public and the School Committee and City Council and now we just want to continue to make Chicopee a safe city with the goal to be net zero.”
Vieau talked about his goal from attending the virtually and in-person sessions.

“Things that resonate with me is hopefully bringing back tools and practices and seeing how other communities handle things an brining those things to Chicopee. I want bikes, pedestrians ad vehicles to be able to coexist safely. I am hopeful that seeing some things, working with other mayors, I can bring some of that information back here to Chicopee. I am looking forward to being a participant,” Vieau said.

Chicopee, like many other communities in Massachusetts, has seen a rise in consistent or fatal pedestrian accidents.

According to a recent study by WalkMassachusetts, one in every five fatal motor vehicle crash in Massachusetts involved a person getting hit by the driver of a car.

In 2022, Chicopee topped the state list of most pedestrian fatal crashes with five and in 2023 they recorded one fatal pedestrian crash but multiple incidents that resulted in injuries.

Mayors Innovative Project Managing Director Katya Spear said that the first year of this project was a success and she looks forward to another year of collaboration.

She added, “We are proud of what we accomplished through the 2023 inaugural cohort and the continuation of this work in 2024 marks a big step forward in accelerating city leadership on traffic safety across the country. These 10 mayors have demonstrated their commitment to advancing pedestrian safety and we are excited to work with them to support and expand their leadership on this critical issue.”

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