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When it comes to walking, Twin Cities pedestrians are safer than most

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: May 20, 2014 - 3:32 PM

Crossing the street or walking on a sidewalk has its risks, but pedestrians in the Twin Cities and in Minnesota are safer than most when compared to other regions of the country, according to a new report out Tuesday from the National Safe Streets Coalition.

The safe-street advocacy group ranked the 51 largest metro areas in terms of how dangerous they are for those on foot and the Twin Cities came in at No. 46, meaning it's one of the safest places to walk.

As a state, Minnesota came in at No. 38 according to report called "Dangerous by Design 2014," which looked at death and injury rates over the past decade.

More than 47,000 people nationwide died while walking between 2003 and 2012, a whopping 16 times the number of Americans who died in natural disasters, including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes. Another 676,000 on foot where injured when they were hit by a car, something that happens every eight seconds in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

More than half of all pedestrian fatalities occurred on roads with speed limits of 40 miles per hour or greater, the report said.

In Minnesota, 395 pedestrians were killed during the time period the report covered. That represented 8.2 percent of all traffic fatalities.

The coalition along with its partners, AARP and the American Society of Landscape Architects, created a  Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) that gives an indication of the likelihood of a person on foot being hit by a
vehicle and killed. The PDI was based on the share of local commuters who walk to work—the best
available measure of how many people are likely to be out walking each day—and the most recent
five years of data on pedestrian fatalities.

Minneapolis, which had 249 pedestrian deaths, received a score of 32.15 to rank No. 46. The most dangerous places to walk were in sun-drenched Florida: Orlando,with a PDI score of 244.28 and four times higher than the national average was the most dangerous place to walk. It was followed by Tampa-St. Petersburg, Jacksonville and Miami.

Memphis came in at No. 5 followed by Birmingham, Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix and Charlotte. The report said "these places grew in the post-war period, mostly through rapid spread of low density
neighborhoods that rely on wider streets with higher speeds to connect homes, shops and
schools—roads that tend to be more dangerous for people walking."

Boston was deemed the safest city for walkers followed by Pittsburgh, Seattle, New York,  San Francisco and then the Twin Cities.

Minnesota scored a 52.8 Pedestrian Danger Index to come in at No. 38.  Florida had the highest score at 168.6 followed by Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina and Georgia.  The safest places to walk were Vermont, Alaska, Washington D.C., Nebraska and South Dakota.

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