Designing Streets for Pedestrians
Smart Growth America recently published the Dangerous By Design 2014 report which analyzed and cataloged the most dangerous streets for pedestrians. Of the most dangerous large metro areas nationwide, Florida holds the top four positions and South Florida is number four in pedestrian fatalities. Number one on the list is Orlando/Kissimmee, followed by Tampa/St Pete, Jacksonville, and finally Miami/Ft Lauderdale/Pompano Beach.
As our transit services grow and improve, our communities must make pedestrian safety a top priority. After all, every transit user starts each trip as a pedestrian. The absence of safety for those walking could have a negative impact on transit ridership and support which in turn could reduce the demand and political will towards transit improvement and expansion.
Smart Growth America, and many other urban/transportation planners, contend that street design plays a major role on our street’s safety. See the whole report here. Locally, a new group called Walkable West Palm Beach is an excellent example of how local action can help improve safety and walkability. Most recently, the group has worked with urban planner and author of Walkable City, Jeff Speck, to complete a walkability study for the area.