Dallas Ranks in Top 15 for Most Dangerous Cities for Pedestrians

Early last week, Transportation For America and the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership released a study of the most dangerous streets in the country for pedestrians among areas of at least a million residents. Dallas ranked 13th, which fortunately beat out Houston’s 8th place ranking. Of the top 10 cities, all were located in the deep South. Florida took the bulk of the list by landing all of the top four spots with Orlando ranking most deadly.

According to Anne Canby, executive director of the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, “Many of these communities were designed after WWII with the automobile in mind…You just don’t have walkable communities.”

The paper states “these deaths typically are labeled “accidents,” and attributed to error on the part of motorist or pedestrian. In fact, however, an overwhelming proportion share a similar factor: They occurred along roadways that were dangerous by design, streets that were engineered for speeding cars and made little or no provision for people on foot, in wheelchairs or on a bicycles.”

Dallas roads are a perfect example of infrastructure that was far overbuilt, and heavily skewed toward moving vehicles as quickly as possible. The number of six lane arterials with speed limits of 40 mph bisecting major residential communities is excessive when given our density. Cities that have double are population make due with roads half the size, and have the byproduct of being more livable, sustainable, and walkable.

8 comments

  1. Headline: Dallas has most lazy ##### crossing in the middle of the street against the nearest light.

  2. JaegerWulf · ·

    Jaywalking is legal in Texas, but when you do it, you have to yield to cars and other vehicles.

    I prefer to jaywalk when I can, you only have traffic coming from one direction at a time, instead of two or sometimes three directions when crossing at a crosswalk.

    Jaywalking has always seemed safer to me. I would have done the exact same thing that those folks are doing, and I would have walked from the crosswalk, down to a safe center point in the road, crossed, then walked back to where to the crosswalk connected to the other end of the street.

    Don’t see it as lazy.

  3. Mr Christopher · ·

    I know that Angela Hunt and the new bike coordinator have talked about making Dallas more “human” friendly, but have we seen any specific proposals from either on how they plan to accomplish that goal? Not moaning here, simply asking the question.

    And as a side note you can tell how “human” friendly a city is by their sidewalk curbs. When I lived in Seattle I was amazed by the amount of folks in wheelchairs getting around the entire city (even in the crappy weather) only because the curbs at every intersection were lowered to street level so wheelchairs could make the crossing and people on foot did not have to step up a curb.

    I’m not sure what the current building code calls for but I’m astonished by the lack of “wheel” friendly intersections in all areas of Dallas, new or old and that seems like such a no-brainer. I realize cyclists are not supposed to ride on the sidewalk but until we have safer roadways I for one often travel by sidewalk and always yield to those on foot (or the rare wheelchair traveler).

    I mean if our city planners do not make sidewalks wheelchair or even walking friendly how bike friendly will they make our roadways?

    -Chris

  4. Hey Chris,

    That’s a great question. In regards to bicycling, the city is putting out an RFB for consultants nationwide in December. Ideally, I’d prefer an international consultant, as I think we’re too pre-conditioned to make assumptions on how people move around, based on a broken system. Firms beyond the states aren’t weighted down by preconceived notions…they’ve run into the exact same stumbling blocks, and were even told things like, “if you take away parking it will kill business”, or “we’re Danes, not Italians…we don’t have a culture for walking”. The part that they understand best is you have to make it irresistable to walk/bike, and to lower any and all obstacles (just like you mentioned with wheelchair access). They’ve had a 50 year head start on us, so they’ve also gained the experience of making mistakes, which is vital to knowing exactly what works in a given area. There’s not been a master plan for livability by the city, but I think that would be the next opportunity to seek out. New York hired Gehl Consulting out of Denmark for the Public Spaces plan, which has been an amazing success. Fortunately, all US cities are beginning to apply changes now, and Dallas is not one to fall too far behind the national stage, for fear of losing business. I think it’s an inevitable, but I would like to see more changes on the ground in a shorter period. What New York has done in only three years is amazing. What I see happening is a series of prototype projects, that will be measured and tested. More than likely, these won’t be pulled away, but will remain. That’s what’s been happening in other cities.

  5. Mr Christopher · ·

    Hey manny, thanks for the explanation.

    “the city is putting out an RFB for consultants nationwide in December”

    Do we have any idea how long that process is supposed to take? For them to chose a consultant that is. No doubt we will hear about it at BFOC first!

  6. Getting people outside without cars, on foot, is a much more critical consideration than anything that is done to encourage cycling. Where people walk, they ride. Kids walk to school, it’s not long before the notion of riding gets into their heads. If people don’t feel OK or safe about walking, they won’t ride no matter how much money is spent on cycling. I see a lot about Portland cycling here, but lots of people WALK in Portland and that’s really the cycling enabler.

    Seattle is far from perfect in this regard. The Evergreen Point Bridge is the only way across Lake Washington for 10 miles in either direction. It was built without any provisions whatsoever for nonmotorized use. Dallas is not alone in having a moto-centric past to live down…

  7. Christopher,

    We’re supposed to have a completed plan by late 2010. We’ll definitely keep you posted on the details as they come to us.

  8. We needed a Transportation for America Study to tell us that Big D is lous for pedistrians?
    All you have to do is walk anywhere in Dallas and it will become readily apparent.
    What’s next?
    “Study says that smoking causes lung cancer!”

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