Going Down Hard

It’s tough to be a pedestrian.

But three cities are getting grants to make walking safer. From the USA Today article:

Every two hours, on average, a pedestrian is killed. One is injured every seven minutes.

“This is not something that just happens in some other place,” David Friedman, acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), said in an interview. “That’s somebody’s child, somebody’s grandchild, somebody’s grandparent.”

As more and more people choose to walk, federal transportation safety experts are trying to figure out how best to keep them safe.

On Friday, the NHTSA and the Federal Highway Administration will award grants totaling $1.6 million to Louisville, Philadelphia and New York for public education and enforcement programs designed to improve pedestrian safety.

The hope is that programs developed in those cities will eventually serve as models for other cities, Friedman said.

While the article almost certainly does not mention all the strategies under consideration, the ones mentioned seem to me to be more of the same ol’ same ol’. In other words: More pasting of stuff onto a car-centric system. Examples: pedestrian education, designated safe walking routes, better enforcement of crosswalk laws, police training, and┬ásocial┬ámedia alerts about dangerous areas.

It is the system itself — the car-centricity — that’s the problem. It’s the culture that believes that streets are for cars, not people, that’s the problem.

We have to be willing, as a culture, to inconvenience motorists more.

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Comments 3

  1. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Worse than that, its about cities are for cars, not people. Santa Fe, which has been trying to figure out how to get bicyclists around town for a decade, keeps running into the nasty fact that The City Different is bisected by US 84/285 and NM 14, aka St. Francis Drive and Cerrillos Road. These are both under the jurisdition of the NMDOT, whose motto is “More Vehicular Level of Service, and everyone else get the F*** out of the way”.

    Safety is seen as a problem of how to get a few cyclists and peds across major arterials, rather than questioning whether it is the way we design the arterials that is the problem.

    Posted 26 Apr 2014 at 2:51 pm
  2. Tom Armstrong wrote:

    Living in one of those burgs getting a grant, as I do, I’m wondering what effect the money will have.

    I *want* to see a lot of police activity like that Keri and others report in Orlando–stings set up to educate motorists about crosswalks and similar features of the built infrastructure.

    Of course, I *want* to see some of the $300K Louisville is spending on majick painte spent on something useful like motorist education rather than edge-of-pavement bike lanes, too.

    I’m not optimistic that either will happen.

    Posted 26 Apr 2014 at 4:54 pm
  3. Michael wrote:

    It’s going to take more than $525K to makes Philly a safe place to walk.

    The only way to make a place like the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philly safe for peds is to turn it back into a normal city street with a 20MPH speed limit and that’s just not going to happen.

    Posted 27 Apr 2014 at 8:14 pm