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Everyone Is A Pedestrian

Everyone Is A Pedestrian

New web resources, grants seek to fight disturbing safety trend

Whether you live in a city or a small town, and whether you drive a car, take the bus or ride a train, at some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian. Unfortunately, in 2011, pedestrians in the U.S. were one of the very few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities.

So as part of the campaign to combat that increase, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is making available $2 million in pedestrian safety grants. NHTSA has also joined with the Federal Highway Administration to launch a one-stop shop of safety tips and resources at www.nhtsa.gov/everyoneisapedestrian.

Photo of Secretary Foxx with children of the safety patrol

"Everyone Is A Pedestrian" offers safety information that communities can use to keep pedestrians safe. With ideas for parents on teaching children about safe walking; reports on effective pedestrian projects for state highway safety offices; guides for community pedestrian safety advocates; and more, the new website hosts a tremendous collection of useful content, and I urge you to visit.

Photo of Secretary Foxx As NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said, “To help stop the recent increase in deaths and injuries, we need everyone to play a role in pedestrian safety.  Working with partners on the federal, state, local and individual level, we hope to turn this concerning trend around.”

The grants announced today, to be used for education and enforcement initiatives, will be a valuable step in that direction. And to get the most out of these funds, we're targeting 22 focus cities with the highest pedestrian fatality rates.

“We are committed to making roads, highways and bridges safer for pedestrians,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “We’re working to create safer environments for everyone, whether it’s getting proven safety measures onto roads and at intersections or sharing online resources with schools, teachers, and parents that teach kids pedestrian safety.”

I'm glad to hear it because according to NHTSA data, 4,432 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2011. That's an 8 percent increase since 2009, and it's an increase we simply can't accept.

But if we're going to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths and injuries, we're going to need everyone's help. If you're looking for a place to start, the new Everyone Is A Pedestrian website is a good first step.

Anthony Foxx is the 17th U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

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We also need to think about pedestrians before designing roads through populated or commercial areas that allow cars to travel at high speeds as if there are no people trying to walk to the destinations there or get off buses. Education must include education of engineers and planners about the importance of making it safe and CONVENIENT for people to make all of their short trips on foot or on a bike. Our national public health depends not just on fewer pedestrian crashes but on more people choosing walking or bicycling over driving to help reduce obesity and air pollution.

I would like to echo the call for sidewalks. We finally got one built on the street where I live, but I frequently come across streets that are missing sidewalks in my daily activities. Sidewalks could be part of a Complete Streets policy, where roads are designed to serve all the modes using them.

How about we pursue a simple idea: Sidewalks Everywhere In my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, many thoroughfares and side streets have never had sidewalks installed. People are having to walk in the street in many spots. And then we wonder why there are so many pedestrian fatalities. Let's fix this once and for all. Require sidewalks for all streets.
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