What Maps of Philly Pedestrian Deaths Tell Us About Street Design

Philadelphia's pedestrian fatalities mapped. Image: This Old City.
Image: This Old City

Do you know the most dangerous streets for pedestrians in your city? I think I do.

Jon Geeting and his partner Daniel McGlone at Philadelphia blog This Old City have a better picture though. They actually mapped all the locations where pedestrians were killed between 2008 and 2012. Geeting says when they looked over the data, some interesting patterns emerged:

One thing that jumps out is that there were “only” 16 pedestrian deaths in Center City during this 5-year period, out of a total of 158 citywide.

While we see a higher concentration of pedestrian crashes in the less auto-centric city core, where there are more total pedestrians around, these crashes are less likely to be fatal. We see more fatal crashes happening in the more auto-centric areas where traffic speeds are higher on average.

In other words, the fatalities are about street design.

If Philadelphia’s City Council members would take responsibility for these traffic deaths and injuries the way NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio and some of his City Council allies are, the first thing they’d do is lower traffic speeds to 20 mph or less on city streets.

Geeting suggests the new speed limits could be enforced with cameras.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Streets.mn takes a Minneapolis-area community to task for lousy plowing on bike paths. Reconnect Austin reports some progress in the organization’s push against state highway designs that would weaken downtown neighborhoods. And the Bike League shares initial thoughts about this week’s Women’s Bicycling Forum.

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