MEDIA CONTACT: Billy Fields Director Pedestrian Bicycle Resource Initiative 504.280.6315 Wmfields@uno.


New Orleans ranked 15th in Nation for Preventable Pedestrian Deaths, Report Shows
Local Coalition Urges Support for Increased Focus on Pedestrian Safety and Improving Infrastructure
New Orleans, LA — Metro New Orleans is among the most dangerous communities in the nation for pedestrians, ranking 15 out of the 52 largest metro areas, a new report shows. The report, Dangerous by Design: Solving the Epidemic of Preventable Pedestrian Deaths (and Making Great Neighborhoods), ranks America’s major metropolitan areas and states according to a Pedestrian Danger Index that assesses how safe they are for walking. An update of the 2004 Mean Streets report, Dangerous by Design was released by Transportation for America ( and the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership. The report authors note that most pedestrian deaths are preventable, because they occur on streets that are designed to encourage speeding traffic and lack safe sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian signals and other protections. Fixing these problems is a matter of will on the part of state departments of transportation and local communities, and of shifting spending priorities, the report concludes. The report also examined how states and localities are spending federal money that could be used to make the most dangerous streets safer, and found that metro New Orleans ranks 33rd, spending an average of only $0.85 per person in Metro New Orleans. “One of the reasons for New Orleans low ranking is the failure to invest in infrastructure improvements that can improve pedestrian safety,” said Billy Fields, Director of the University of New Orleans’ Pedestrian Bicycle Resource Initiative. Crashes and fatalities involving cars and pedestrians are a serious problem in metro New Orleans. 60% of all car crashes in Louisiana involving pedestrians occur within the metro region. Additionally, four pedestrians and bicyclists are hit by cars every day in metro New Orleans. While walking conditions remain perilous across the country, many communities are working to make their streets safe and welcoming for people on foot or bicycle, the report shows. Communities across the country are beginning to reverse the dangerous legacy of 50 years of anti-pedestrian policies by retrofitting or building new roads as “complete streets” that are safer for walking and bicycling as well as motorists. There are signs of progress in New Orleans, such as the recently completed Oak Street reconstruction which created wider sidewalks, curb extensions to reduce pedestrian crossing distances and traffic calming elements to reduce traffic speeds. The second phase of the City’s walking path on St. Anthony in Gentilly was also recently completed. Though many infrastructure projects are progressing in New Orleans, when it

comes to seeing a safer city for pedestrians, experts are saying the City has a long road ahead. “We have a great opportunity here in New Orleans to help improve safety and encourage healthy levels of physical activity by investing in proven pedestrian safety infrastructure like sidewalks, traffic calming, well-designed crosswalks, and pedestrian signals.,” said Fields. “In many cases, opportunities to improve safety are being missed because local, state, and federal policies fail to encourage proven best practices.” “As Congress prepares to rewrite the nation’s transportation law, this report is yet another wake-up call showing why it is so urgent to update our policies and spending priorities,” said James Corless, director of Transportation for America. Under the current federal transportation bill, less than 1.5 percent of available funds nationally are directed toward pedestrian safety, although pedestrians account for nearly 12 percent of all traffic deaths and 9 percent of total trips. Between 2007 and 2008, more than 700 children under the age of 15 were killed walking. With more funding Metro New Orleans could provide safer and more inviting pedestrian environments that would provide resident with transportation options, opportunities for physical activity and increased economic vitality of commercial districts. Seven organizations served on the steering committee for this report, working closely with T4 America and the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership. These organizations include the American Public Health Association, AARP, Smart Growth America, America Bikes, America Walks, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and the National Complete Streets Coalition. To access the full report visit ### ABOUT The Pedestrian Bicycle Resource Initiative (PBRI) The PBRI is a joint project of the University of New Orleans Center for Urban and Public Affairs<> and the Regional Planning Commission<> that aims to improve bicycling and walking in the New Orleans metro area. The Pedestrian Bicycle Resource Initiative is also a clearinghouse for pedestrian and bicycle resources and research for Louisiana housed at the University of New Orleans. More information about PBRI is available at ABOUT TRANSPORTATION FOR AMERICA (T4AMERICA) Transportation for America is a broad coalition of housing, environmental, equal opportunity, public health, urban planning, transportation and other organizations focused on creating a 21st century national transportation program. The coalition’s goal is to build a modernized infrastructure and healthy communities where people can live, work and play by aligning national, state and local transportation policies with an array of issues like economic opportunity, climate change, energy security, health, housing and community development.<>