Sure, You Can Walk in Dallas. But, According to a New Report, It Can Be Dangerous.

Categories: Transportation
TransportationForAmericaMap.jpg
Dallas is all about the hike-n-bike these days, what with Complete Streets and Better Blocks and Bike Plans and Pedestrian Bridges and whatever else will help us ease on down, ease on down the road. Good thing too, since walking 'round Dallas -- and Fort Worth and Arlington -- can be dangerous. That's according to D.C.-based Transportation for America, which yesterday released its Dangerous by Design 2011 annual report, which, using stats provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, tallies up the number of pedestrian deaths between 2000 and 2009 and ranks the D-FW-A 10th among big metros with 942 killed during that period. That's actually the third-highest total in the Top 10, behind the Miami and Houston areas, but given the low number of average annual pedestrian deaths per 100,000 -- 1.6 -- we rate the 10 spot.

Says the report, "The decades-long neglect of pedestrian safety in the design and use of American streets is exacting a heavy toll on our lives," and in supplemental material provided with the report, Transportation for America urges the feds to do something about pedestrian deaths -- like, say, adopt a national Complete Streets policy, which is exactly what Sen. Tom Harkin called for yesterday when introducing the Complete Streets Act of 2011.

Here's the Texas breakdown from Transportation for America, which notes that:
Between 2000 and 2009, 4,212 people were killed while walking in Texas. This is a share of the more than 47,700 Americans who died on our streets and roads, whether walking to school, approaching a bus stop, or strolling to the grocery store. Children, older Americans, and racial and ethnic minorities were killed in disproportionate numbers. An overwhelming proportion of these deaths share a common thread: they occurred along "arterial" roadways that were dangerous by design, streets engineered for speeding cars with little or no provision for people on foot, in wheelchairs or on bicycles.
And here's the interactive map that shows exactly where and when those deaths in and around Dallas occurred.

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36 comments
CheeryBitch
CheeryBitch

Forgive me if this has already been said in the comments (I'm posting before reading)... but as a frequent outdoors runner, the issue is not solely 'the dangerous design of streets' it's because drivers don't effing pay attention! It's infuriating that driving is a secondary, or even tertiary, act to whatever else a person is doing behind the wheel. (And, yes, I ALWAYS stop and look before crossing an intersection. Have had to many close calls from bitch-ass inattentive drivers not to.)

db
db

As a resident, walker, and bike rider in the CBD area I can tell you that we just have a mindset in Dallas that is oriented toward motorized vehicles with little or not thought to pedestrians or bikers.  Too many impediments in the sidewalks, too many one way streets, no bike lanes, drivers that are not accustomed to looking for pedestrians or bikers, a city that has no problem blocking sidewalks for months so that vehicle lanes are not blocked.  It goes on and on and on, but glad that some are starting to notice.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Perhaps this is a reason why the city staff & council want to close the down town tunnels.   Get them out on the streets where they can be run over.  That is unless they decide to try out the new Trinity White Water Rapids then we can drown them.   After all the citizens are the problem-they just get in the way of our squandering of tax dollars (the city).

observist
observist

The only thing I know for sure is that when I'm driving, all pedestrians are idiots, and when I'm walking, all drivers are idiots. 

elbueno
elbueno

oh, but if only @WalkableDFW weren't on vacation..

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

If your a pedestrian and you get hit by a giant steel car (usually some shiney metallic color) with sizable mass then your the idiot, thats natural selection! The road was made for traveling above or near the speed limit, if your genetics, race, gender, economic standing, or political "green" opinion inhibit your travling at or near that speed then you dont belong

If you almost get hit in a parking lot then do a few things:  1. Get off the fucking phone  2. Stop walking right down the center of the path where you drive  3. Cross directy across said paths at a 90 degree angle and not some idiotic wandering right through traffic  

Jim Bob Guthrie
Jim Bob Guthrie

Dallas has the worst sidewalks of any city in comparable size.  Kansas City has better walkability.  (and I say that as a person who loves Dallas).  Kansas Freakin' City.

observist
observist

Looking at the interactive map, a large portion of the fatalities, possibly even a majority, have occured on limited-access highways where traffic is moving fast and drivers aren't expecting pedestrians. (Just a couple weeks ago I almost hit some dumbass who was trying to sprint across 183 near the merge with I-35.)  It also looks like the victims are disproportionately males over 35 - at least around E. Dallas.  I think there are two lessons here:  1) walk to the nearest entrance/exit if you need to get across the highway  2) you're not as fast as you used to be.

TimCov
TimCov

There are places throughout the DFW area that can definitely use improvements for both pedestrians and bicyclists. Also, drivers need to start paying more attention. But, we also need to educate the pedestrians. The family who rents the house next to mine chooses to walk down the middle of the road whenever they walk anywhere. This is despite the fact that the city put in very good sidewalks when they rebuilt the street last year. Safety needs to be everyone's concern, whether you are using a vehicle or going on your own 2 feet.

Meh.
Meh.

I wonder how many deaths can be attributed to people not using crosswalks? While a lack of walkable areas should be noted, it stands to reason that people not being "good" pedestrians must be partly to blame. (See: Ross Ave, Skillman, etc.)

Bigjondaniel
Bigjondaniel

Deaths per 100k is a silly statistic. Deaths per pedestrian mile is the one that matters. 

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

But people in DFW want arterial roadways and streets engineered for speeding cars, because the cost of driving is cheaper than the cost of living in the inner city.  Until that situation reverses, which will only happen when gas prices become truly exorbitant, walkability will be a pipe dream.

Chevytexas
Chevytexas

Actually, Gus, what I do in parking lots (private property) is call the Police with the driver data, or if the silly MF has parked (and they do, they do) after nearly running over me, they're the stupid one and I have plenty of scratchy items. No sweat. And, the police will follow up on the report; recently a Lakewooder who nearly ran me down at Peak/Gaston was ticketed after an uncomfortable hour while he explained why the Jeep he nearly ran me down with was unlicensed, uninsured but wearing his other car's license. I agree that you seem to be wandering off from the point of the article, not the root cause of the deaths. Or, just wondering out loud, were you being sarcastic? That always gets missed in these threads. Among other things.

balls connoisseur
balls connoisseur

Your post doesn't make much sense. How do you go from an article about walking, into a rant about eugenics and socio-economics playing a part in how someone drives? Did you mean that those types you listed don't pedestrian correctly? I guess when your mind is filled with such hate it's hard to be coherent.

alfredo
alfredo

I think if you keep looking you will find a large number of people like the dumbass you referred to as trying to sprint across 183 are roadkill.  The last study I remember reading on this subject is that Dallas had a higher number of fatalities on limited access highways than other cities, hence Dallas ranked higher as unsafe for pedestrians.

Just following Observist's two rules would lower Dallas' ranking 

Gus Mitchem
Gus Mitchem

Or your the perfect age to be a wandering wino ?

RTGolden
RTGolden

Shutz is going to be apoplectic when he sees the city put in perfectly good sidewalks in your neighborhood.

jon
jon

Okay. Good pedestrians??? What about good drivers? That's the problem. Crosswalks? Seriously.... why bother.... a lot of drivers don't even respect when its your turn to walk. They start driving out even when the light gives you the right to walk. It's scary. So a lot of times I make it a point to cross well in advance of the crosswalk/s and lights. I will cross far enough down the way from the crosswalk to give me time to cross safely, when cars aren't coming. Sometimes I even cross when traffic in my lane isn't moving because another safe lane is moving. Drivers should learn to respect pedestrians, and crosswalks and lights should be more pedestrian friendly.

TimCov
TimCov

That matters somewhat. Though, as a responsible driver, you are always supposed to be on the lookout for pedestrians and people driving any vehicle (car, motorcycle, bicycle or whatever).

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

I walk on ross daily and I can tell you that being in the crosswalk with a walk sign means nothing to drivers.  Ive seen cars honk and cuss out pedestrians while in the crosswalk with the ROW.  And dont get me started on the Dart Bus drivers that turn in front of peds not realizing the rear of the bus would hit us.  And the other Dart bus that actually hit a pedestrian standing on the corner away from the curb.  You can make it as walkable as you want but until vehicles respect laws already on the books, walking anywhere will not be safe.  Side note:Im a commuter into downtown, but walk the streets for lunch and to and from my vehicle.

Bigjondaniel
Bigjondaniel

I think some of the true character of Dallas will come out in this thread. I almost got killed crossing a  wal-mart parking lot last week. And I am pretty damn easy to spot. Was that my fault also?

pezhuevon
pezhuevon

What is a pedestrian mile? I take it you mean  the number of miles people walk in a city rather than the  miles of pedestrian safe streets. I think the former, while an good metric would be very hard to measure. The one problem with this measure is that two cities with an equal stat could be pedestrian oriented or auto oriented with a different number of fatalities. I'd rather be in the pedestrian oriented city. Unfortunately reducing the amount of walking (bad goal) also reduces the number of fatalities (good goal). How about policies that get people out walking / biking AND make that walk / bike ride safe?!

Stacy
Stacy

hate to break it to you...................but all deaths matter

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

Huh so this happens to you alot? You must be one of those exact people Im talking about and you better be careful. Are you familer with the Castle Doctorine?

Montemalone
Montemalone

I have to agree with the parking lot thing. I see idiots all the time wander into the MIDDLE of the aisle, sauntering as if their on some beach stroll. Of course, those same folks can sprint when they get near to the door to cut you off after you finally park, only to once again stop IN the doorway to dig in their purse or pee in their diaper..I say run'emthefuckover.

TimCov
TimCov

Well, if he moved to Garland, he might get such things. ;>

Meh.
Meh.

Wow, you're defensive. I live downtown and I'm a runner - so I see my share of shitty drivers. I also drive down the two streets I referenced 2-3 times a week. I see plenty of people NOT in crosswalks. I'm not saying pedestrians are to blame; matter of fact, I can direct a lot of blame to drivers. However, if these pedestrians choose to flout the (albeit mediocre) safety laws/provisions that ARE in place, that should be accounted for.

observist
observist

If you were a troll, you'd seem a lot smarter.  "Pedestrian mile" is not pedestrians per mile, it's miles walked by pedestrians.  New York has like 1,000,000 pedestrians that walk 2 miles each per day, and Dallas has like 30 that walk 100 yards each per day.  Regardless of the overall city population, if New York has 20 deaths and Dallas has 15, then Dallas is a far, far more dangerous place to walk than New York.

observist
observist

Hate to break it to you... but yours is a case of premature sanctimony.  He wasn't questioning the numerator, "deaths", he was questioning the denominator "100,000 population" as opposed to "pedestrian mile".

Bigjondaniel
Bigjondaniel

@Stacy  - are you trying to troll here?  One can talk about the validity of the statistic without making a judgement on the injury. Good lord

Mike Goat
Mike Goat

The Castle Doctrine has nothing to do with this discussion.

I walk to and from work everyday.  I'm never on my phone.  I only go across streets at crosswalks, yet I have a close call with getting hit by an agressive driver about once every month.  How do you explain that?

Stacy
Stacy

I'm not trolling anywhere and I know what u were saying....It makes no sense and is stupid....You are suggesting we rate cities by pedestrian accident per mile....OK....you want us to compare Chicago Philadelphia and Manhattan w/ it's 71,201 residents per square mile  to Dallas's, Houston's and Phoniex's  3,000 ppl per sq mile....don't take a rocket scientist to tell you if you did the survey that way the dense northern cities would be #1 and the sprawled out 6x larger southern cities would be on the bttm of the list... Basically your saying 50 ppl dead per sq mile totaling 150 deaths in Manhattan which is only "2 miles long and size of our airport and over 300% more dense than us" vs our 1 pedestrian death  per 0.2 sq mile totaling almost 1,000 deaths. NY is #1 for pedestrian deaths and Dallas is the safest city........ummmm OK....

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