[ExI] worst cities for walking vs dead man walking

spike spike66 at att.net
Fri Mar 25 20:46:33 UTC 2011


I found two websites which describe the risk of walking in America's





and this one:





The worst cities for walking site comments:


Transportation for America released
<http://t4america.org/resources/dangerousbydesign/> a new study on which
U.S. cities are most dangerous for pedestrians. If you're going for a stroll
in Florida, keep your wits about you: Orlando, Tampa, Miami, and
Jacksonville take the top spots.

The report blames most pedestrian deaths on what they call "poorly designed
arterial roads"-they're high-speed, multi-lane city streets lined with
shopping centers, drive-throughs, apartments, and office space, yet devoid
of pedestrian-friendly elements like crosswalks.



The Dead Man Walking site comments:


"Cities where pedestrians happily walk to their destinations instead of
driving everywhere are our dream, but what if it means taking your life in
your hands?"




I found five cities that were on both lists and compared their statistics
for number of annual pedestrian deaths per 100,000 population, Atlanta, LA,
Detroit, Baltimore, and Washington DC.  Note the pedestrian deaths per
100,000 population for each site and the factor of disparity between the



                                Dead Man Walking
Worst Cities for Walking


Atlanta                                 10.97

Detroit                                  10.31

Los Angeles                        7.64

Baltimore                            7.54

Washington DC                 5.74


The disparity in deaths per 100,000 population for each city is as follows


                                Dead Man Walking          vs
Worst Cities for Walking differ by a factor of:






Los Angeles




Wash.  DC



So here we have two cities reporting a similar statistic where they differ
by a factor of anywhere from 3 to 8.  Why the disparity?  Could it be that
Worst Cities for Walking is not taking *all* pedestrian deaths into
consideration?  Their comment "poorly designed arterial roads.devoid of
pedestrian-friendly elements like crosswalks,"  suggests to me they do not
count pedestrian deaths from anything other than being struck by traffic.
In most places, this is the least of your worries if you are walking.


They go on to identify the five worst cities, which is what really caught my
attention in all this is the top for spots for pedestrian danger are all in
Florida: Orlando, Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville.  Being a Florida boy and
having been in all four of these cities, I attest their crosswalk system
needs improvement, however. better crosswalks will do nothing to counteract
the pedestrian deaths that are not caused by being struck by a lumbering


Neither of the sites explain how they determine what constitutes a
pedestrian death, but most of us agree that it is not legitimate to count as
a pedestrian fatality some lardbutt who has a heart attack while walking
down the sidewalk with a donut in one hand and a twinky in the other.  He
likely would have had a heart attack anyway, sitting in his car.  Likewise
with a person who suddenly succumbs to emphysema or perhaps sudden onset
malignant hemorrhoids, coupled by blunt force from a baseball bat.  So, if
one refuses use one's imagination, we can explain the factor of 8 difference
in pedestrian deaths in Atlanta and the 7.3 factor difference in Detroit by
assuming Dead Man Walking includes pedestrian deaths by malignant
hemorrhoids and other factors, whereas Worst Cites does not.


Or we can admit the obvious: walking in cities is dangerous, but being
struck by traffic is only a small fraction of that danger.  Dead Man Walking
comments ".pedestrians happily walking to their destinations instead of
driving everywhere are our dream."  This dream could turn into a nightmare,
if it caused pedestrian deaths to go up instead of down, as I rather suspect
it would.  Without cars, Worst Cities for Walking's pedestrian fatalities
would go to zero as pedestrian fatalities rise. 


When people tell me driving is more dangerous than walking, riding a bicycle
etc, I must wonder where they get their statistics, and how they are


Cars are our suit of armor.  Depending on where you live, they can mean the
difference between life and death.  The way to make cities safer then would
be to eliminate buses, for one is at least temporarily a pedestrian on
either end, and have everyone drive everywhere.







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