Transportation for America has released a report called “Dangerous by Design” that looks at pedestrian deaths vs. spending on pedestrian amenities and ranks cities across the U.S. Following the report’s release, T4A met with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who promises that “the DOT Safety Council is going to look at this report and work with advocacy groups to ensure our streets are as safe as possible.”
Before we see how St. Louis fared, what does T4A think is causing problems?
Over the last several decades, most of the business of daily life has shifted from Main Streets to state highways that have grown wider and wider over time…the pressure to move as many cars through these areas as quickly as possible has led transportation departments to squeeze in as many lanes as they can, while designing out sidewalks, crosswalks and crossing signals, on-street parking, and even street trees in order to remove impediments to speeding traffic.
As a result, more than half of fatal vehicle crashes occurred on these wide, high capacity and high-speed thoroughfares. Though dangerous, these arterials are all but unavoidable because they are the trunk lines carrying most local traffic and supporting nearly all the commercial activity essential to daily life.
(emphasis mine). Pedestrian safety is a transit issue as well – for many people the transit experience can become uncomfortable, inconvenient, and even dangerous if the pedestrian access in their area is not sufficient and safe. Details after the jump.
So how does St. Louis fare? Based on 72 pedestrian fatalities between 2007-2008, and a 1.7% percentage of workers walking to work, St. Louis is number 21 (just behind Kansas City) for pedestrian danger. Take a look at T4A’s Missouri Fact Sheet for more details (opens a .pdf file!).
The federal government is already working to improve pedestrian safety near transit stops: I found a proposed FTA rule change on Regulations.gov that would essentially enlarge the area around transit stations that would qualify for federal funding for bike- and pedestrian-related improvements (the “catchment” area). You can check it out on Regulations.gov and submit a comment either for or against the proposed change.
What’s your walking experience around the St. Louis region?