According to "Dangerous by Design," a report released on November 9 by Transportation for America and the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, Florida has the dubious honor of being home to the four most dangerous communities in the country for pedestrians. The communities of Orlando-Kissimmee, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, and Jacksonville were ranked the top four communities on a list of the 52 most dangerous large metro areas for pedestrians in the nation. The "Dangerous by Design" report was the most recent such report, but other respected findings draw similar conclusions for both walkers and bicyclists.
These deaths are preventable if our state government would, like some states, fund projects that enhance our safety and give walking and bicycling more meaningful consideration. We're all pedestrians at some point, and we all deserve safe places to walk. In Florida, a pedestrian is twice as likely to be struck and killed by a vehicle, on average, as is a pedestrian in other states. You fare even worse if you are a bicyclist!
Additionally, our state governor and legislature plan on hosting a special session in December to focus on a $2 billion request for federal transportation funds to build a new high-speed rail system connecting Orlando with Tampa. Any new system must connect the places where people live, work, play and learn through trails, sidewalks and bicycle lanes, and should be included in initial planning. Trails, sidewalks and bicycle lanes must be included as intermodal links.
Please join me in sending a loud, unified message: Enough is enough. We need safe places to walk and bike, now. If you are not a Florida resident, please consider taking one of these actions to speak up for rail-trails and active transportation.