Dallas Pedestrian Deaths Are Concentrated in High-Poverty Areas, New Data Says

Categories: Transportation

640px-Dont_walk.jpg
Kenny Louie
Don't walk. Probably a good idea anywhere you happen to be in Dallas.

It may be surprising to hear, with as much as North Texas has been deservedly trashed for being a car-dependent, unwalkable hellscape, but DFW fails to crack even the top 50 of a recent Governing.com study measuring pedestrian deaths per capita.

Between 2008 and 2012 the region has averaged 6.5 pedestrians killed per 100,000 residents, in line with cities like San Francisco, Tulsa and Birmingham Alabama, which doesn't seem that bad. The thing is, Dallas takes so many of its trips by personal vehicle that it's impossible for its pedestrian death numbers not to be low.

"Of course a place where 96 percent of our trips are by car in DFW, we're going to rank lowly just because there are so few pedestrians," Patrick Kennedy of Walkable DFW.

If a different metric is looked at, deaths per pedestrian rather than pedestrian deaths per capita, Dallas' numbers plummet, Kennedy says.

A few years ago, Kennedy compared the New York City metro area with DFW and found that, when looked at per pedestrian, people walking in Dallas were almost 52 times more likely to be hit and killed than people walking in New York.

The fatal pedestrian accidents that do happen in Dallas are concentrated in low-income neighborhoods. Pedestrians are four times more likely to be killed in areas with a poverty rate higher than 25 percent than they are in an area with a poverty rate of lower than 15 percent.

See also: The 10 Most Dangerous Places to Walk in Dallas

Lower incomes mean lower car ownership rates. Lower car ownership rates, combined with the lower density, poor access to public transit and wide high-speed limit roads common to less affluent areas lead to more pedestrian deaths.

"The speed to injury ratio is an exponential curve," Scott Bricker of national pedestrian advocacy group America Walks says, "at 20 miles an hour, effectively no one dies and at 40 miles an hour, 95 percent of [people struck by cars] die."

Kennedy and Bricker agree that narrowing roads and lowering speed limits are things that could improve pedestrian safety in low-income areas at a relatively low cost. So would increasing the number of transit stops in areas with high numbers of pedestrians, Bricker says..

Efforts must also be made to keep housing affordable when amenities that benefit pedestrian safety come in. As areas become more attractive, rents naturally go up, Bricker says, so concessions must be made to prevent the most vulnerable pedestrians from being forced progressively closer to the fringes of the metro area.

Kennedy echoed Bricker's thoughts:

"We need to be cognizant of trying to allow the local neighborhood to capitalize on any new investment that happens in the area rather than just getting pushed away from it," he says.


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55 comments
SpottedDick
SpottedDick

When poor pedestrians are outlawed, only outlaws will be poor pedestrians.

roo_ster
roo_ster

Lesser rate of auto ownership, shorter time preferences, and lesser mean intelligence in poorer neighborhoods.  Tack on some spectacularly dumbass cultural baggage and you get more of them turned into road pizza.


Unless we are willing to go authoritarian on them and force them to live in the way white liberalism prefers, we are going to get stats like this.

rusknative
rusknative

uh, more mentally impaired walkers out in the wee hours of night/day, ignoring traffic signals and illegal immigrant drivers with no insurance and no drivers license....the low income is because of the character of rent costs to live in areas controlled by slum lords who have rentals affordable, or Title 8 housing complexes.....the folks are aggregated by the property owners and govt programs.  Of course they are low income folks getting killed as pedestrians....not different from Detroit or Chicago.

rusknative
rusknative

uh, more mentally impaired walkers out in the wee hours of night/day, ignoring traffic signals and illegal immigrant drivers with no insurance and no drivers license....the low income is because of the character of rent costs to live in areas controlled by slum lords who have rentals affordable, or Title 8 housing complexes.....the folks are aggregated by the property owners and govt programs.  Of course they are low income folks getting killed as pedestrians....not different from Detroit or Chicago.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

"Lower incomes mean lower car ownership rates."  I'd have to call BS on that one.  It might lower the NEW car ownership rate, certainly the 'I can't afford to own a Beemer, but I'm douche enough to lease one' rate is lower.  I live in a low income area and I think there are probably more cars than people.

do_youthink
do_youthink

The only places I have ever seen people trying to cross the highway on foot (many times, always nonwhites) has been in poor neighborhoods, usually at night, in places where the overpass was only 1/4 mile away or less.

The only places I have seen fatal hit-and-runs (3 of them) has been in poor nonwhite neighborhoods, committed by poor nonwhites.

But blame whitey, right Dallas Observer? Wow you're such "progressive Social Justice Warriors".

Hilarious that this article quotes someone from the Whitopia of Portlandia (whiter than Salt Lake City). Weird how the people who are the most "progressive" almost always live in the whitest places in the country.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

If I read the article correctly, does this mean that as walkability and number of pedestrians  goes up, the number of pedestrian deaths increases?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

From today's Dallas Business Journal: "Nearly 1,000 apartments are under construction at the $1.5 billion CityLine development in Richardson, which will be anchored by the massive State Farm Insurance regional hub."

Hey Kennedy, why don't you go torment Richardson and advocate knocking down that Central Expressway/President George Bush Turnpike overpass where Cityline is coming out of the ground?

Gee, I wonder why State Farm didn't come downtown?

because their people can't get in and out.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

But how many people die in cars/trucks accidents?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

The latest national joke going around is making fun of journalists who tie every possible statistical anomaly to "climate change" (ha!).  or racism.

This is a permutation of that satire.  

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it necessitate knocking down I-345?"

And of course, women and children are hurt most.

Voot
Voot

If I were a developer in a city adjacent to Dallas I would be pumping as much money as I could spare into Kennedy's campaign - through credible cutouts, of course. When you see someone falling, there's nothing kinder than helping them along by giving them a little extra push.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

People in poor areas jay walk more based on my anecdotal view and they walk more at night.  It is hard to read people through a windshield, but sometimes it is almost as if some people in those areas dare you to challenge their illegal crossing.  Getting a stare down from someone casually strolling against busy 30 mph traffic is unique to Dallas in my experience.  Be very careful driving near the Bridge.


I have a lot to lose and modify my driving letting them pursue whatever they have rattling around in their minds.  Other drivers may not care less, could be stoned or are just as eager to press their perceived right of way.  Then you get accidents.

pak152
pak152

remember to look both ways before crossing the street

Cross at the corners


have they not been taught those rules?

SpottedDick
SpottedDick

@RTGolden1


Or more to the point, lower incomes mean cheaper, older, less well maintained vehicles ... which may contribute to the accidents themselves.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@RTGolden1 Yeah, there's usually one or two on the lawn, sometimes up on blocks, or logs. Gotta have a backup when the one that currently works craps out. While you're scrounging parts for that one, hopefully one of the other ones will work for a few days.

becoolerifyoudid
becoolerifyoudid

@holmantx  If any of these guys really wanted walkable/new urbanism they would have seen the writing on the wall and gotten in on the Medical District revitalization.  Nearby employment center, people that don't want to commute due to working long hours, and a nearby DART station.  It is still ongoing so there is time.  But for the most part its just apartments and nothing else in the area. 


Irony of all ironies, DMN has an article that the developer that wants to put in a mixed use project  near the Medical District/Love Field is Trammell Crow, (just kidding, we all know that means they want to put a Sam's in). 

Threeboys
Threeboys

I had one this morning about 5:30 on Ferguson near 635. She was 30 feet from crosswalk headed to a bus stop and my light was green. I didn't slow down, she did until I got closer and she suddenly found the energy to shuffle a little quicker.

James080
James080

@MikeWestEast 

People in NY City jay walk like it's in their DNA. If you stand on a corner waiting for the "walk" light, they smirk at you as they breeze by against the light.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

@MikeWestEast I've also seen this in the poorer areas of Garland, Richardson, Plano, Mesquite, Houston, and just about every other urban/suburban area I have been to.

As to the the talk about the wider faster streets with fewer crosswalks. I will see people in these areas choose to cut across the street 15 feet from a crosswalk or intersection. Perhaps, police officers should start enforcing laws covering things like jaywalking and having people actually stop behind the white lines at intersections. But, if they did it in areas with higher pedestrian accident rates, there would be screams of racism. And, if they did it in areas of higher affluence, they would get people complaining to the city council.

DanShornloiter
DanShornloiter

@MikeWestEast exactly...a mother jay walking with 5 kids across NW Highway...3 bumbling teens jay walking across a busy street (at night) trying to fake which like they are the hardest...mentally ill folks stumbling around near overpasses. Only time I see well-off people walking in the street is St Paddy's day.

SpottedDick
SpottedDick

@pak152


It's actually safer to cross mid-block in most cases, as the vehicles are moving in only 2 directions, instead of 4 at intersections.

James080
James080

@pak152 

It's probably also a fact that there are fewer sidewalks, and less well maintained sidewalks overall, in poorer areas of the city. People forced to walk in the street, especially at night, are far more likely to be struck by a drunk or distracted driver.


RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Montemalone @RTGolden1 oddly enough, most of them seem to work, and a decent majority of them are nice cars in excellent condition.  I live in a low income area, not a trailer park.

The amazing thing to me is you'll see a house that looks like it might creep over 800 sq ft, if you add the patio to the living area.  There  will be 3 or 4, sometimes 5 or 6 working cars parked there.  Weekday mornings, all the cars will be gone by 6am, heading to work.  How are all these people living in such a tiny house?

do_youthink
do_youthink

Does the Dallas Observer actually pay you to be this stupid every day?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@becoolerifyoudid @holmantx Too late to get in the game in Medical District/Love field area I think.  CBRE is buying up every scrap of land bigger than a sidewalk square.  We are, once again, being promised the elusive grocery store on Mockingbird near Harry Hines.  I'll believe it when I see it.

You're right though, apartments are going up everywhere over here.  CBRE is making claims of a mixed use/residential going in, but I haven't seen anything in writing on it yet.

James080
James080

@becoolerifyoudid @holmantx 

Dallas has never understood the concept of "mixed use development." A successful mixed use development requires many components, but it absolutely must have housing for all income levels.  All of Dallas' attempts at mixed use have excluded lower and lower-middle class (priced) housing. 

TexMarine
TexMarine

@DanShornloiter @MikeWestEast I was just thinking that I need to record my commute so people could witness this first hand.  just on my way through lake highlands yesterday afternoon, a mother with a baby in the stroller, one on the way, and two in tow running across Skillman, no less than 50 yrds from the corner.

Driving down Park Ln at the Ridgecrest/Fair Oaks intersection should be a case study in people gambling with their lives.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

@DanShornloiter @MikeWestEast  You need to drive Ross Street before and after a show at AT&T Performing Center.  These people are well dressed and stumbling across a six lane plus two center turning lanes busy street at night.  They want to save a few bucks on parking and then risk a lot more jaywalking.

pak152
pak152

@rusknative no need to shout and they are safety rules no matter what language you speak

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

@James080 @pak152 I don't really think so. My neighborhood just had the streets and sidewalks completely rebuilt (there are sidewalks in good condition). Yet, I will see families (mom, dad, kids, and sometimes grandparents) walking down the center of the street in a big clump. And, these people could be white, Latino, or African American. 

I believe that there just to many people in the world who don't give a crap about how their actions affect others.

pak152
pak152

@James080

another pedestrian rule - if you are walking in the street, walk facing the traffic coming towards you.

as for sidewalks there are very very few north of Northwest highway

roo_ster
roo_ster

@RTGolden1 @Montemalone 

Used to have illegal alien bunkhouses in my town.  Most got rousted, thankfully.  Lots of cars, bunk beds in every bedroom and garage.  I figure in less well regulated towns you'll find more of such.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@RTGolden1

How are all these people living in such a tiny house?

Maybe they're really small people.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@do_youthink Obviously, you come by your stupidity freely.

Chattering_Monkey
Chattering_Monkey

@RTGolden1 @becoolerifyoudid @holmantx CB and TCC one in the same these days.  CB bought TCC for the name, but the TCC people still operate under the CB umbrella.  They are in on everything around medical district, uptown north dallas.  Whe you've got a development company, merged with a brokerage and management company, you've got your hand in everything commercial in the area

Threeboys
Threeboys

I drove to Houston in early July and that number was up then!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@MikeWestEast this happens day and night.  There is clearly a sign that says cross at crosswalk only, but people are too lazy to walk the extra  500 ft down to the corner.  Ive had to slam my brakes in front of chase tower at least once a week.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Threeboys ah well is should have gone up at least 30 then, add a couple in arlington just this week alone

Subnx
Subnx

Dallas works just fine and will continue to do so if the urbanists

will just stay away.

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