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Pedestrian Infrastructure

Wiki Wednesday: “Shovel-Ready” Pedestrian Safety Plans?

4:58 PM EST on January 7, 2009

StreetsWiki author Andy Hamilton files this entry on an idea from our very own Federal Highway Administration: the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan.

crosswalk.jpgThe concept includes a step by step methodology to identify and correct pedestrian safety hazards, as well as to plan a more walkable community from the ground up. FHWA developed a how-to guide, and contracted with pedestrian design experts to provide 2-day or 3-day trainings to state and local transportation departments around the country. This federal effort was initiated when it was recognized that most traffic engineers receive inadequate professional training to effectively address pedestrian safety concerns.

From 2005 to 2007, FHWA conducted 77 trainings in the 14 states that ranked highest in pedestrian crashes. In some states, the trainings resulted in almost immediate pedestrian safety improvement projects or evaluation efforts.

Implementing a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan is not usually a high priority for traffic engineering departments, and require consistent advocacy from neighborhood organizations or elected officials.

Here's something to chew on. These trainings began more than three years ago and have probably led to the creation of some actual safety plans, which can get off the ground quickly. Shouldn't a federal stimulus package fully fund all of these projects before giving highway-addled states like Texas a dime for anything else?

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