Wednesday, November 18, 2009

City Streets a Mortal Threat to Pedestrians

A report finds more than 43,000 pedestrians nationwide have died this decade on roads the authors complain don’t provide adequate crosswalks and other safety features.

The report, by Transportation for America and the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, says states simply aren’t spending enough to improve pedestrian safety and accessibility. Less than 1.5 percent of total transportation funds are spent on such measures, even though pedestrians comprise 11.8 percent of all traffic deaths.

The authors complain that states aren’t spending enough to make roads safer for people who are on foot, on a bike or in a wheelchair. The report finds wide disparities in the amount each state spends. For example, Providence, Rhode Island, spends $4.01 per person to increase pedestrian and cyclist safety, while Orlando spends 87 cents.

“Too many transportation agencies have focused their investments on serving vehicles that result in unsafe, unhealthy environments for walking and bicycling,” said Anne Canby, president of the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership. “It’s time recipients of federal taxpayers’ money were held accountable for addressing this epidemic of preventable deaths.”

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