Last week PHC sent out an Action Alert to our newsletter group on the Transportation Bill currently being negotiated in Congress. The bill incorporates pedestrian safety provisions passed in the Senate's bipartisan MAP-21 bill. House negotiators are pushing to eliminate the small programs that fund bicycle and pedestrian projects which prevent deaths and injuries on our roadways.
This week, Transportation for America released new data presenting a breakdown of fatalities by Congressional district. This list shows that bicycle and pedestrian deaths occur in every single Congressional district - deaths that could be prevented by a modest investment in roadway conditions which this bill would enact.
The majority of deaths occur on roadways that encourage speeding but do not provide the sidewalks, crosswalks, signals and other protections for pedestrians, particularly seniors and children.
“Having saddled communities with unsafe streets, it would be the height of cruelty for Congress now to take away resources and latitude from local communities trying to improve those conditions and save lives.” said James Corless, director of Transportation for America.
“Local health departments keep people in their communities healthy and safe. Encouraging communities to assure safer routes for biking and walking prevents pedestrian deaths, which occur every 2 hours, and pedestrian injuries, which happen every 8 minutes.” said Robert M Pestronk, executive director of the National Association of County and City Health Officials.
The Complete Streets Policy, which is being presented to the Asheville City Council today for adoption, is a short and encompassing policy that is intended to ensure that transportation practitioners take statistics like these into account and create safer streets - streets that will be used by people young and old, slow and fast, and with and without disabilities.