The United States continues to struggle with a legacy of unsafe street designs that fail to safely accommodate people walking. Dangerous by Design 2014 (PDF), released by the National Complete Streets Coalition (a program of Smart Growth America), documents the…
Last week we looked at the Dangerous by Design report. One of the useful features is the map tool, which overlays the locations of every pedestrian fatality in the country on Google Maps. This tool brings the challenges of street safety to life in every community across the country, and allows us to pinpoint the most deadly areas for pedestrian safety improvements.
Let’s start with San Francisco. Fatalities are clustered in the Tenderloin and SoMa, while Van Ness, Geary, and 19th Ave are notably dangerous corridors. This data is consistent with what we learned from the City’s WalkFirst Initiative.
In San Jose, you can see some pretty clear patterns along major automobile-oriented arterials like the Capitol Expressway, El Camino Real, and Monterey Rd. Freeway offramps/onramps are also hot spots (although there are oddly a number of freeway fatalities plotted away from ramps as well).
Pedestrian fatalities are often clustered in low-income areas where people have no choices other than walking on unsafe streets. Consider the high concentration of fatalities in South Los Angeles, where many streets are wide and designed for speed despite the high concentrations of elderly, children, and people who don’t own cars.
By a quick informal survey, the distinction of worst street in California goes to Beach Blvd in Orange County (zoomed out to a smaller scale to capture its entirety):
Between 2003 and 2012, an astonishing 37 people died crossing Beach Blvd. Unsurprisingly, Beach Blvd is a state highway so it is designed by Caltrans, which has a history of pushing car-centric designs that fail to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. Beach Blvd. features eight lanes of traffic, 45 mph speed limits and few crosswalks. It is a recipe for disaster.
How dangerous are the streets in your city? Take a look here.