[fcb-l] Fw: [tabi] from today's Democrat: article on pedestrian safety
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Mon Jan 11 15:33:52 GMT 2010
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From: "Allison and Chip Orange" <acorange at comcast.net>
To: <tabi at freelists.org>
Sent: Monday, January 11, 2010 8:08 AM
Subject: [tabi] from today's Democrat: article on pedestrian safety
> January 10, 2010
> National study shows Tallahassee is dangerous for pedestrians
> By Jeff Burlew
> Senior Government Editor
> Tom Baxter knows firsthand how dangerous Tallahassee roads can be for
> Baxter, 63, walks downtown visiting various courts every work day as part
> job as a librarian for the Florida Attorney General's law library. Drivers
> have honked
> and yelled at him and one even ran into him as he was walking along the
> on Duval Street a few years ago. He wasn't hurt, but he doesn't walk that
> of Duval anymore.
> "It's the drivers - they don't pay attention," Baxter said.
> A recent national report points to another danger facing pedestrians in
> and across the U.S. - streets designed more for speeding cars than people
> The "Dangerous by Design" report, prepared by the Surface Transportation
> Policy Partnership
> and Transportation for America, found that Tallahassee pedestrians face
> almost double
> the risk of walkers in the U.S. as a whole.
> The Tallahassee metropolitan area, which comprises Gadsden, Leon,
> and Wakulla
> counties, had a total of 14 pedestrian deaths and 284 pedestrian injuries
> over 2007
> and 2008.
> The report gave the Tallahassee area a "pedestrian-danger index" of 109.4,
> more than
> twice the national number of 52.1. The index, a measure of the relative
> of walking,
> is calculated by dividing the average pedestrian fatality rate over the
> 2008 by the percentage of residents who walk to work.
> Florida as a whole fared even worse in the report. The four most dangerous
> areas for walkers in the U.S. are all in Florida. No. 1 was Orlando,
> followed by
> Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville. The pedestrian-danger index for all of
> Florida was
> Leon County Commission Chairman Bob Rackleff calls the dangers facing
> "a slow-motion crisis." He said that while motorist fatalities have been
> falling for the last three decades, pedestrian deaths have stayed the same
> or gone
> "And that's because of the neglect of pedestrian-safety programs and our
> to understand the real infrastructure needs," he said. "It's not just
> Sidewalks are obviously critical. But where we've failed utterly is in
> Rackleff points to Apalachee Parkway at Magnolia Drive as a prime example
> a road
> that's almost impossible to cross safely. Walkers must cross six or more
> lanes of
> traffic to get to the other side. And while there are pedestrian "push
> buttons" to
> help walkers get across, there are no pedestrian refuges halfway across
> which was recently redesigned by the Florida Department of Transportation.
> said the city also needs more crosswalks in the middle of blocks in places
> such as
> North Monroe near Lake Ella.
> "We're very careless when it comes to accommodating pedestrians with
> infrastructure," Rackleff said.
> The "Dangerous by Design" report found that nationwide, less than 1.5
> percent of
> money under the federal transportation law, called the Safe, Accountable,
> Efficient Transportation Equity Act, has gone toward pedestrian- and
> projects. It also found that no state spends more than 5 percent of
> money on sidewalks, crosswalks, traffic calming and other amenities for
> and walkers.
> The report calls for more traffic-calming features, including pedestrian
> better road geometry and signals that give pedestrians a head start when
> the street. It also calls for "Complete Street" designs featuring
> paths, comfortable bus stops and frequent crosswalks.
> Tallahassee is taking steps toward making streets friendlier for bikers
> Blueprint 2000, a city/county partnership that's making road, greenway and
> improvements through proceeds from a 1 percent sales tax, is including
> bicycle lanes
> and sidewalks on both sides of the road for all of its projects.
> Crosswalks are being built with pedestrian push buttons, said Dave Bright,
> 2000 project manager.
> About 46 miles of bike lanes or sidewalks have been constructed or will be
> as part
> of Capital Circle widening. Stormwater ponds are being turned into parks
> with walking
> trails, and Cascade Park planned for downtown will have 2.3 miles of
> and sidewalks,
> he said.
> "I think we're doing all we can do" to accommodate walkers and bicyclists,
> The city and county are receiving $1.8 million in federal stimulus money
> And the county has applied for $40 million in federal grant money for
> Rackleff said.
> Steve Shafer, city engineer, said that the city has been focusing more and
> more on
> bike lanes, sidewalks and other amenities over the past couple of decades.
> The city
> has spent a couple of million dollars over the past few years to make
> sidewalks more
> accessible for people with disabilities. Some $4 million was spent on
> sidewalks and
> other improvements in the Bond community, and another $3 million will be
> spent for
> similar improvements in the Providence neighborhood.
> Shafer said the city is completing a study of West Tennessee Street to
> it safer
> for pedestrians. That could mean closing the outer lanes to traffic during
> hours, though that would have to be approved by FDOT. He said the city is
> signals on West Tennessee to slow down the flow of traffic. The city also
> spent $10,000 for a pedestrian crosswalk and island in midtown at
> Thomasville Road
> and Fifth Avenue.
> Tallahassee residents said inattentive drivers pose the biggest danger to
> John Plescow, a Tallahassee resident with visual impairment, said drivers
> are downright
> hostile to pedestrians.
> "I've been in the crosswalk with my white cane, and I've had cars pull
> said Plescow, who works for the Public Service Commission. "I've had
> at me for being in the crosswalk even though I have the right of way. And
> then there
> are the general problems - not many sidewalks, roads with very small
> shoulders and
> Plescow said he's also concerned about StarMetro's planned
> called Nova 2010, which he said will force people to cross major roads to
> catch buses.
> Michael Carlucci said he was almost run down Wednesday while crossing West
> at Ocala Road. He said dangerous conditions for pedestrians are a symptom
> a deeper
> "Our lack of connection with each other, our community and our environment
> is far
> scarier to me," he said. "This fellow in his isolated metal box simply was
> not aware
> that there was anyone out there besides him."
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