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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Cities struggle with preventing pedestrian deaths



The people of Columbus, Ohio, are quarreling over what has led to the nine pedestrian deaths the city has seen this year.

Police sgt. Brooke Wilson told the local NPR station that every one of those deaths, to some extent, is preventable.

"It’s not just enough to be legally correct in your actions as a pedestrian. You need to give yourself every advantage which includes wearing bright, reflective clothing, paying attention to your surroundings, looking for other vehicles, being aware of cars that might not be seeing you," Wilson said.

Joshua Lapp at Transit Columbus fired back, calling the comments "anti-pedestrian." 

"Sidewalks aren’t sexy, yet 50 percent to 60 percent of Columbus remains without them. Crosswalks aren’t in the news, but all too often they’re ignored by drivers and unmarked for pedestrians," Lapp wrote. "We all deserve a safe way to cross the street, a smooth sidewalk for our feet, or a safe ramp for our wheel chair."

The question of how to prevent pedestrian fatalities is one cities everywhere are trying to solve. But while leaders in Columbus fret over the nine people they've had killed crossing streets this year, Tampa Bay struggles with the issue on a much grander scale.

Tampa Bay was named the second-most-dangerous metro area in the nation for pedestrians last year. Nearly 17-percent of the states pedestrian fatalities came from one of the area's four counties, according to data provided by the Florida Department of transportation. Here are the numbers for 2014:

Hernando: 4
Hillsborough: 34
Pasco: 24
Pinellas: 41

Columbus' metro population is 1,967,066 comparred with the four counties' total population of 2,934,941.

[Last modified: Thursday, November 19, 2015 4:56pm]


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