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Walking dead

OKC named as among most dangerous metros for pedestrians.

Gazette staff August 23rd, 2011

Oklahoma City is the 22nd most dangerous large metro area for pedestrians nationwide, according to a new Transportation for America study.

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The national policy organization combined pedestrian fatality data with census numbers to formulate the report, which calculates a Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) for each city.

OKC sustained 167 total pedestrian deaths from 2000 to 2009 for a PDI of 89.5. By contrast, the metro area of Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla., suffered 557 deaths over the same time period, with a top-ranked PDI of 255.4.

OKC has made strides since being named America’s least-walkable city by Prevention magazine three years ago. The local walkability conversation ramped up after consultant Jeff Speck was tapped by Mayor Mick Cornett to develop solutions to the city’s pedestrian issues. Speck challenged citizens to improve OKC’s walkability crisis by 2015, if not sooner.

In December 2009, OKC voters approved the MAPS 3 program, which includes $40 million for around 50 miles of new trails and $10 million for roughly 70 miles of new sidewalks. The trails are projected to be completed in 2017, while the sidewalks are expected to be finished in 2014.

Oklahoma had the 18th highest PDI (67.2) among states nationwide with 480 pedestrian fatalities from 2000 to 2009. Florida was No. 1 with a PDI of 182.8 and 5,163 total deaths during that time frame.

As solutions, the Transportation for America study recommends the following provisions in the next federal transportation spending bill:

•Retain dedicated federal funding for the safety of people on foot or on bicycle.
•Adopt a national complete streets policy.
•Fill in the gaps with complete networks of sidewalks, bicycle paths and trails so that residents can travel safely throughout an area.
•Commit a fair share for safety.
•Hold states accountable for creating communities that are safe for walking.

Photo by Mark Hancock
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08.23.2011 at 09:36 Reply

If we actually had sidewalks, I have a feeling there would be a lot more fatalities. Its crazy how there are so many streets with no sidewalks here. I feel bad for the people in wheel chairs or people on bikes, its dangerous as hell out there. Just the other day driving on Meridian and 29thish I saw a guy on a roadbike almost get hit, no bike lane, no sidewalk.


08.24.2011 at 08:38 Reply

I'd love to take a walk through my OKC neighborhood without having to look behind me to see if approaching vehicles are recognizing my existence.  Would love some bike lanes too, but that's probably asking too much.  And in many places, I'm certain that implementing both would seriously encroach on private property.  It certainly is sad that if you want to ride your bike, you physically have to transport it to a bike friendly location first.

I realize this is an oil state, but perhaps we should create these passages for travel on the oft chance that in 100 years, that resource is going to be scarce.  But who am I kidding, that's commie, socialist, progressive, hippie BS!  Oil forever baby!