A new study by urban planning and development advocacy organization Smart Growth America has quantified just how dangerous Georgia and metro Atlanta are for pedestrians.
The results aren’t good.
Between 2008 and 2017, 1,782 pedestrians were struck and killed by cars in Georgia, making it the sixth most dangerous state to be a walker, according to the Dangerous by Design report.
That’s 1.76 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people per year—roughly 184 annually.
In the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area, that number is 1.79.
To put that in perspective, the national average was 1.55 annual pedestrian deaths for every 100,000 people.
The most dangerous state to walk in, according to this research, is Florida, which logged 5,433 pedestrian deaths between 2008 and 2017, at a rate of 2.73 annual deaths per 100,000 people.
During that time, more than 13 pedestrians—one person every hour and 46 minutes—were killed each day across the Unites States.
“It’s the equivalent of a jumbo jet full of people crashing—with no survivors—every single month,” the report says.
The research also shows that, although 2017 saw a slight decrease in fatalities, the problem isn’t going away.
In just the past 10 years, the amount of pedestrians struck and killed by automobiles has spiked by 35 percent.
“For too long we have disregarded this problem by prioritizing moving cars at high speeds over safety for everyone,” the report adds.
None of this should come as a surprise, especially to metro Atlantans.
The region has long held vehicles as the primary mode of transportation, and its transportation infrastructure shows it.
Of course, there are laudable initiatives in Atlanta to increase pedestrian safety, such as Midtown’s efforts to repair and replace busted sidewalks.
But there are also plenty of pitfalls.
Take, for example, the many “complete streets” projects—initiatives that upgrade roads to be more accommodating to pedestrians and cyclists—promised by the Renew Atlanta and TSPLOST infrastructure improvement programs.
Due to a funding shortage, much of those programs will be gutted, meaning only the projects deemed most important will be carried out.
In late January, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition officials said the first fatality of 2019 on what’s considered a “High-Injury Network corridor” was recorded. Pedestrian David Gordon, 52, was fatally hit by a car crossing the street at Cascade Road and Rogers Street in Southwest Atlanta, coalition officials said.
Today, Renew Atlanta and TSPLOST leaders wrapped up another round of surveys that should help determine which projects are most vital to Atlantans’ safety.
- Dangerous by Design report [Smart Growth America]