Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay ranks second-worst nationally in pedestrian deaths

TAMPA — Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater make up the second-most-dangerous metro area in the nation for pedestrians, particularly if they are older adults, children or minorities, according to a national report released today.

The results come from the National Complete Streets Coalition, which ranked pedestrian safety within major metropolitan areas by assessing each region's "pedestrian death index'' — the rate of pedestrian deaths relative to the number of people who walk to work in the region.

Throughout Florida, the numbers weren't pretty.

Four metropolitan areas in the state led the survey: Orlando-Kissimmee; Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater; Jacksonville; and Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach. Memphis was the fifth-worst area for pedestrians.

"Historically, it's been a problem for us," said Billy Hattaway, a district secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation.

Across Florida, Hattaway said, the department has located the "hot spots." Next, it will conduct road safety audits and develop a strategy to improve specific issues in each region, such as increasing lighting at certain intersections or prohibiting dangerous right turns.

In a conference call Monday, Hattaway and several national officials discussed the report, and the need for major changes to reduce fatalities.

From 2003 through 2012, about 47,000 pedestrians in the United States died while walking along streets, according to the report.

"That's 16 times the number of people who died in natural disasters the last 10 years," said Roger Millar, director of the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Said Nancy LeaMond, an executive vice president with AARP: "Simply put, the streets in our communities are not working for older Americans."

Millar said 68 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred on roads funded in some part by the federal government and designed in accordance with government guidelines.

This is crucial, because the report corresponds with a piece of legislation floating through Congress that would make states set targets for reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

Millar said the coalition's idea is to present a plan that would create measurable safety goals for walkers and bikers. Some of these solutions include "reducing the number of travel lanes and installing median islands," according to the report.

"These deaths are preventable," Millar concluded. "This is about making smarter choices."

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Zack Peterson can be reached at (813) 226-3446 or

The worst five

The number is the rate of pedestrian deaths from 2008 through 2012 relative to the number of people who walk to work.

1. Orlando-Kissimmee, 244.28

2. Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater, 190.13

3. Jacksonville, 182.71

4. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, 145.33

5. Memphis, 131.26

Source: National Complete Streets Coalition

Tampa Bay ranks second-worst nationally in pedestrian deaths 05/20/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 8:48am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Supreme Court term ended much different than it began


    BC-US—Supreme Court, 1st Ld-Writethru,899

    AP Photo WX109

    People visit the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, June 26, 2017, as justices issued their final rulings for the term, in Washington.  The Supreme Court began its term nine months ago with Merrick Garland nominated to the bench, Hillary Clinton favored to be the next president, and the court poised to be controlled by Democratic appointees for the first time in 50 years.  Things looked very different when the justices wrapped up their work this week. [Associated Press]
  2. SPC's Bill Law leaves with pride for the faculty, concern for students — and a story about hotdogs


    ST. PETERSBURG — The local community college had already made a name for itself when William Law Jr. first arrived on campus in the early 1980s as a vice president. Still, the school, then named St. Petersburg Junior College, was just a shadow of the sprawling state college it would later become.

    Bill Law, outgoing St. Petersburg College president, said he is proud of the college cultivating stronger relationships with the community.
  3. Forecast: Pattern of hot, humid air and inland, late-day showers continues across bay area


    Storms again will pop up midday around Tampa Bay, but are forecast to mostly stick inland.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day. [WTSP]
  4. UCF suspends fraternity amid sex assault and hazing claims (w/video)


    ORLANDO — A University of Central Florida fraternity has been suspended while the school investigates allegations of sexual assault and hazing.

  5. Florida beats LSU, wins first College World Series title


    OMAHA, Neb. — Maybe this wasn't Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan's best team. It is, however, his first national championship team.

    UF’s Nelson Maldonado, left, and Deacon Liput high-five after a run scores.