Dallas Remains Dangerous to Pedestrians

According to the latest iteration of a report on pedestrian safety in North Texas, the Dallas-Fort Worth area remains dangerous to people traveling by foot. This study shows that just over a thousand pedestrians died after impacting with vehicles between the years of 2008 and 2017. In short, this means a death rate of 1.49 people per 100,000 residents, meaning that the region is the 28th most deadly metro area in the United States and the fourth deadliest in Texas.

2014 saw the Dallas-Fort Worth area have 900 pedestrian deaths over a decade, yielding an annual rate of 1.31 pedestrians per 100,000. In 2016, that figure stayed virtually the same. While more people are dying on the streets of Dallas, according to multiple figures, the mortality rate is worsening at a faster rate than other regions. The streets of Dallas are dangerous for foot travelers due to a combination of multiple high-speed traffic lanes and insignificant buffers. While the bulk of pedestrian automotive accidents occur in places with a high degree of intersection between foot traffic and vehicles, a good number of pedestrian deaths occur when people have to confront high-speed vehicles on foot.

Scott Bricker, member of “America Walks,” a national advocacy group for pedestrians, commented that the ratio of speed to injury has an exponential curve. Bricker commented that an impact with a vehicle going 20 miles per hour never results in death, while an impact with a vehicle going twice as fast leads to a fatality in 19 out of every 20 incidents. Intersections like Ledbetter Drive and Sunnyvale Street can force pedestrians to contend with as many as eight traffic lanes and two turning lanes while trying to make it to any of the businesses surrounding those crossroads.

2016 saw Dallas’ city council adopt the Complete Streets Plan. This plan involving constructing streets in a safe, comfortable way that accommodates all ages, abilities and modes of transportation. Under this plan, some of Dallas’ most frequently traveled streets, like Knox Street and Oak Cliff’s Tyler and Polk, have had improvements made to their sidewalks, some of the lanes stripped away and removed or had some of them converted from one-way paths to two-way ones.