Streets that are dangerous by design

Florida’s four largest urban areas are among the country’s most dangerous for walkers, transportation policy advocates noted Monday in releasing a study that associates street and road design with high numbers of injuries and deaths. In large and small cities throughout Florida, it’s common to find streets designed primarily to move cars swiftly

from place to place, the study by Transportation for America and the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership noted. People who prefer to walk, or who have no choice, often can’t find marked crosswalks — or even sidewalks. At such a spot in Miami Springs — on Westward Drive at Cherokee Street — a walker was fatally injured last Monday. There’s no sidewalk on the westbound side, where the person was hit.

The national study cites the Orlando, Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville metropolitan areas as topping the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI), ahead of Memphis, Raleigh, Louisville, Houston, Birmingham and Atlanta. The PDI makes area comparisons more fair by taking into account the amount of walking done by local residents. In the New York-New Jersey metro area, for instance, walkers represent 31 percent of traffic deaths – but because 6 percent of residents walk to work the area’s PDI is lower than Orlando’s, where just 1.3 percent walk.

You can download the full report and view all of the companion tables of data online right here:

It’s important to note that, while the Miami and Tampa Bay areas both rated very high in the PDI, the cities of Miami and St. Petersburg have recently adopted policies to aid and protect walkers on their streets. In Miami, the City Commission adopted a Complete Streets policy last spring and the Miami 21 zoning code in October. St. Petersburg was awarded a National Roadway Safety Award this year by the U.S. Department of Transportation. And over in Fort Myers, there’s a Comple
the Streets resolution coming up Tuesday before the Lee County Commission.

Here’s Miami Herald transportation writer Al Chardy’s take on the report: And here’s what the Christian Science Monitor wrote: