Charlotte [metro] ranked 10th most dangerous city for pedestrians

A recently released study ranks Charlotte as the tenth most dangerous city for pedestrians. The report, "Dangerous by Design 2014," ranked cities according to how likely a pedestrian is to get hit by a vehicle. Compiled by Smart Growth America, a national nonprofit dedicated to fighting suburban sprawl, the report studied city-by-city deaths and numbers of pedestrian commuters to come up with an overall "pedestrian danger index."

The report ranked Charlotte just below the Phoenix area and just above Detroit. The Raleigh area ranked 16th of the 51 cities studied. The study said Charlotte had 254 pedestrian deaths from 2003-2012. About 14 percent of traffic deaths during that time involved pedestrians. From 2008-2012, the Queen City had an annual pedestrian death rate of 1.65 per 100,000 people.

Shannon Binns, head of Sustain Charlotte, a local nonprofit fighting suburban sprawl, said the report shows the city has much work to do to make pedestrians safer. He also pointed to the Observer's story over the weekend on pedestrian safety questions in rapidly developing South End.

The Smart Growth America report "highlights the serious danger to Charlotteans of poor street design and lack of infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists," Binns said. "It should serve as a wake-up call for accelerating what the city is already doing to improve the safety of our streets for all who use them, not just those who drive."

Another study, released late last year, showed Charlotte ranked dead last among big cities for walkability. The Walk Score ranking system, which studies nearly 3,000 cities in the U.S., Canada and Australia, found that out of the 74 U.S. cities with populations of 250,000 or more, Charlotte ranked 74th.

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