Wiki Wednesday: “Shovel-Ready” Pedestrian Safety Plans?

StreetsWiki author Andy Hamilton files this entry on an idea from our very own Federal Highway Administration: the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan.

concept includes a step by step methodology to identify and correct
pedestrian safety hazards, as well as to plan a more walkable community
from the ground up. FHWA developed a how-to guide, and contracted with
pedestrian design experts to provide 2-day or 3-day trainings to state
and local transportation departments around the country. This federal
effort was initiated when it was recognized that most traffic engineers
receive inadequate professional training to effectively address
pedestrian safety concerns.

From 2005 to 2007, FHWA
conducted 77 trainings in the 14 states that ranked highest in
pedestrian crashes. In some states, the trainings resulted in almost
immediate pedestrian safety improvement projects or evaluation efforts.

Implementing a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan is not usually a high
priority for traffic engineering departments, and require consistent
advocacy from neighborhood organizations or elected officials.

something to chew on. These trainings began more than three years ago
and have probably led to the creation of some actual safety plans,
which can get off the ground quickly. Shouldn’t a federal stimulus
package fully fund all of these projects before giving highway-addled states like Texas a dime for anything else?

  • Linda Wei

    i fully agree with you on your conclusion.

    i live in Los Angeles and i’m appalled at the pedestrian amenities presently available in the city. there are pedestrian crosswalks without either in-street warning lights or stop lights to back them up. coupled with insufficiently lit streets all throughout the city (or streets that are being re-vamped – which means the street lights are out anyway), the all pedestrians are pretty much just walking into death traps. i guess pedestrians means everybody cause at one time or another, everyone is a pedestrian.

    what’s so sad is that pedestrian amenities, just like bike amenities, can be the least labor and fiscally intensive projects to implement — but always gets shafted up the ass when it comes to prioritization.

    dude… WHAT the F^&^.

  • Martin99204

    I just saw a show featuring Andy Hamilton. A boy gets off a bus and runs out in front of the bus with out looking and gets hit by a passing car. Andy said “It’s not his fault”. He thinks it’s the streets fault? He went on to say the same thing I tell my kids, “look both ways before crossing the street and wear visibal clothing. I guess that’s where our way of thinking differs. I tell my kids that I just don’t understand the laws on crosswalks etc. I say, “If your hit by a car in the sreet it’s your fault”. It is the most dangerous place to be in the our current enviroment. Parents, drill this into your kids head!!! I say “even in a crosswalk with the walk light on, you should keep your eyes on the traffic”. You are taking a chance, rolling the dice, every time you enter the street that 100% of the drivers are alert and that 100% of the cars have maintained breaks that work good. I think if the driver was never at fault the people would look more. Just watch drivers, people don’t even look!
    Andy, It was his fault and his parents.



Traffic Engineers Still Rely on a Flawed 1970s Study to Reject Crosswalks

When St. Louis decided not to maintain colorful new crosswalks that residents had painted, the city’s pedestrian coordinator cited federal guidance. A 2011 FHWA memo warns that colorful designs could “create a false sense of security” for pedestrians and motorists. That may sound like unremarkable bureaucrat-speak, but the phrase “false sense of security” is actually a cornerstone of American engineering guidance […]