California's Mean Streets
California is one of the worst states in the US to be a pedestrian, according to a report released last year by the Surface Transportation Policy Project.
California is second only to New York in terms of the pedestrian deaths as a percentage of total traffic deaths, according to the STTP. Not too surprising, considering that the state ranks dead last in terms of per capita spending of federal transportation funds on pedestrian projects. The state spends 4 cents per person on pedestrian improvements, compared with $40 per person on highway projects.
Santa Clara, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Los Angeles and Sacramento counties are the five most dangerous places to walk within California.
And minority children are most are most at risk of being severely injured or killed while walking. The STTP report found that "African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately represented as victims of pedestrian-vehicle crashes in nearly every one of the state's most populous counties."
The answer is not to limit pedestrian activity, which is often the knee-jerk response to increasing traffic dangers. Besides being a serious infringement of pedestrian rights, the STPP points out that this practice has serious public health consequences of its own.
"The fact that so many children are kept inside or are chauffeured to destinations in order to guarantee their safety has increased their exposure to another kind of danger - the health risks associated with inactivity and obesity," the report states. "78 percent of children in the US do get the recommended daily dose of 30 minutes of exercise."
The report concludes with the following recommendations to pull California up from the bottom of the pedestrian safety rankings:
What you can do:
Contact CalTrans Director Jeff Morales at Caltrans_Director@dot.ca.gov
Get It To Go!
Pass It On:
Mission Pedestrian, 1711 Mission Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Last updated on Wednesday, 28-Jul-2004 09:12:28 PDT