Thursday’s Headlines Reap What We Sowed

A Detroit family walks down a street with no sidewalks. Source: Joel Kurth/Bridge Michigan.
A Detroit family walks down a street with no sidewalks. Source: Joel Kurth/Bridge Michigan.
  • Cyclist and pedestrian deaths have skyrocketed in the U.S. over the past 20 years — an anomaly among developed nations — and the victims are disproportionately Black and Hispanic. For decades governments prioritized wide roads in poor and minority neighborhoods that outsiders can speed through, and neglected to invest in safety. (New York Times)
  • Two-mile long freight trains often block intersections for hours, requiring children who walk to school to risk their lives climbing over a train that could start at any time or stay home. (ProPublica)
  • Automakers pretty much refuse to sell small cars and trucks in the U.S., believing Americans don’t want them. So rural farmers are importing tiny pickups from Japan. (The Economist; paywall)
  • “Desire paths” trampled by people where there are no paved paths help urban planners understand how to build better public spaces. (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)
  • California transit agencies and sympathetic legislators unveiled a five-year, $5 billion budget proposal to keep transit from going over a fiscal cliff. (CalMatters)
  • The Culver City council removed a protected bike lane from a downtown safety pilot program that was widely watched in the L.A. region. (LAist)
  • The “pause” on Philadelphia’s King of Prussia rail line is also an opportunity to draw riders back by improving existing transit service. (Governing)
  • Gov. Maura Healey hired the Massachusetts DOT’s first-ever chief safety officer. (Boston Herald)
  • Miami planners are floating a plan to turn U.S. Highway 1 into a boulevard with traffic calming measures and a bike path. (Miami Today)
  • A light rail crash near Denver in March was likely caused by the operator falling asleep, according to a state investigation. (Colorado Public Radio)
  • A Charlotte Magazine writer tried riding the bus and found it slow and frustrating, as did many of her fellow passengers.
  • Lisbon is the latest city to ban car traffic through downtown, if only temporarily. (City Lab)



In 2021, Most Massachusetts Pedestrian Killings Were Concentrated In Just 12 Communities

A new WalkBoston analysis of pedestrian deaths during 2021 found that most fatal crashes that killed pedestrians last year were concentrated in only 12 cities and towns across the Commonwealth, and that older adults were disproportionately represented among the victims. In 2021, at least 75 pedestrians lost their lives in traffic crashes in Massachusetts, according […]
Each year, thousands of Americans are killed while walking on dangerous roads.

The Unequal Toll of Pedestrian Deaths

News reports tend to blame the victims of these crashes for transgressions like "distracted walking" or crossing where they shouldn't have. But a new analysis from Smart Growth America highlights how pedestrian deaths are a systemic problem caused by the dangerous design of our streets and transportation systems.