A new national report by Transportation for America examines the alarming number of pedestrians killed while walking over a ten year period from 2000-2009. Dangerous by Design 2011: Solving the Epidemic of Preventable Pedestrian Deaths (and Making Great Neighborhoods) finds that one of the biggest contributors to pedestrian fatalities is the way streets are designed. An overwhelming proportion of these pedestrian deaths occurred along “arterial” roads, multi-lane roads through populated areas designed for speeding cars with little or no consideration for people on foot, in wheelchairs or on bicycles. These deaths, from the simple act of walking, are preventable with safer street design that incorporate traffic calming, road diets, complete streets policies and Safe Routes to School programs.
Key findings of the report include:
- 5,109 pedestrians were killed in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut from 2000-09.
- More than 1 in 5 of total traffic deaths in New York and New Jersey are pedestrians. In Connecticut, over 1 in 8 traffic deaths are pedestrians.
- People of color and seniors are disproportionately represented in pedestrian fatalities, both in the region and across the country.
- Nationwide, pedestrian injury is the 3rd leading cause of death by unintentional injury for children 15 and younger.
The report reaffirms TSTC’s The Region’s Most Dangerous Roads analysis released earlier this year showing that regional pedestrian deaths in NY, NJ and CT remain stubbornly high, with an average of 412 pedestrian fatalities a year.
Local advocates responded by calling on the region’s Governors, State DOT Commissioners, and state and federal lawmakers to prioritize pedestrian safety:
In New York, Tri-State joined AARP, the NY League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, Reconnect Rochester, Transportation Alternatives, and Vision Long Island to call for a statewide complete streets law.
In New Jersey, Tri-State joined AARP, the state chapter of the American Planning Association, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers, NJ Bike & Walk Coalition, NJ Future, and Trenton Cycling Revolution in asking the state to restore funds to the Safe Streets to Transit program, improve safety on dangerous roads like the Burlington, White Horse, and Black Horse Pikes, and support federal complete streets legislation.
In Connecticut, TSTC and Bike Walk Connecticut, Greater Bridgeport Transit, and Elm City Cycling called on the state to pass a vulnerable user law to protect pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable road users.
Image: Google Street View.