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Connecticut Ranks 27th For Pedestrian Safety

F Delventhal
Creative Commons

Connecticut ranks 27th among 50 states when it comes to pedestrian safety, according to Dangerous By Design, a new report compiled by the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America. 

The report reveals that there were 351 pedestrian fatalities in Connecticut between 2003 and 2012. More than half -- 54.6 percent -- of those deaths occurred on arterial roads.

Stefanie Seskin, Deputy Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, said these roads were originally designed for automobile traffic, and not pedestrian concerns. "Typically," she said, "when these streets were planned and designed, they were meant for automobile traffic only. They lack good crosswalks, frequent crossings for people on foot, sidewalks, sometimes, and really tried to keep people driving going really fast."

Credit sun / Creative Commons
Creative Commons
A road designed without sidewalks in northern Connecticut.

Seskin recommends that transportation officials take simple measures to minimize the fatalities on arterial roads. "Build some sidewalks where they are missing," she said. "Make sure that you have frequent and short crossings for people, and then implement some traffic calming solutions where appropriate to keep those speeds in check."

Credit Trevor Hurlbut / Creative Commons
Creative Commons
A sidewalk in Newington.

Adults 65 and older accounted for 28.4 percent of the pedestrian fatalities, according to the report. Hispanics and African Americans were more likely than whites to be killed while walking.

Hartford led all major metropolitan areas in the state with 121 pedestrian deaths, and ranked 38th out of 51 metropolitan areas nationwide. Just this week, Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law a measure that would increase the penalty on reckless drivers who injure or kill pedestrians.

Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series Where Art Thou? Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of Morning Edition, and later of All Things Considered.

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