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Sandy Grinnell, Staff Contributor
Sandy Grinnell, Staff Contributor
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Orlando/Kissimmee Tops List of Deadliest Metro Areas for Pedestrians

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According to the Transportation for America (TFA) latest report, Central Florida has the worst ranking in the number of pedestrian deaths for 2007 and 2008 among metro areas that have a million plus residents. 16.9% of all our traffic fatalities involved a pedestrian.

For every 100,000 residents in the Orlando/Kissimmee area, there was an average of 2.86 pedestrians killed on our streets in 2007 and 2008 putting us at the top of the list. However, Orlando was not the only Florida city to rate poorly for the safety of pedestrians. The next top three spots went to Tampa/St.Pete/Clearwater, Miami/Ft.Lauderdale/Pompano Beach and then Jacksonville.

The TFA report was aptly named Dangerous by Design as the report attributes these preventable deaths to very roads that most commuters have begged for to make their drive to work more bearable. It’s the thoroughfares, or "arterial roads", like Semoran Blvd, Colonial Ave and Silver Star Road that have been widened to six lanes with a turn lane in the middle that are the most dangerous for pedestrians as they seldom come with pedestrian crosswalks.

The TFA also cites a lack of funding as a contributing factor in the high number of pedestrian deaths. The report states that although 11.8% of all traffic fatalities involve pedestrians, only 1.5% of transportation funds are aimed at improving the safety conditions for pedestrians.

These deaths are preventable and the officials at Transportation for America are asking for your help in making our streets safer for those who walk, try to cross or bike on our city streets. Let your voices be heard in Washington by contacting Transportation Secretary LaHood and requesting that pedestrian safety become a national transportation priority.