Orlando Most Dangerous City in America For Pedestrians
Orlando was featured in a New York Times article this Monday. Unfortunately, the story was not recommending a new cultural attraction or wizard-oriented theme park to potential visitors. The article focused on our city’s status as the most dangerous place in America for pedestrians. This is the second consecutive year in which Orlando has earned this dubious distinction. The top four dangerous cities for pedestrians were all located in the Sunshine State.
The rapid population growth in Florida over the past three decades contributed to a very car-oriented style of city planning, with wide arterial roads (such as Semoran Boulevard, which is highlighted in the Times’ article) designed to funnel commuters in and out of the city’s ever-expanding suburbs. This has resulted in extremely dangerous conditions for pedestrians in our city. From 2000 to 2009, more than 550 pedestrians were killed in the Orlando metropolitan area.
Thankfully, the city of Orlando is taking some corrective measures to improve pedestrian safety around our city. Miles of new sidewalks are being built, more street lights are being added in poorly-lit stretches of road, and the dangerous placement of bus stops in some areas is being addressed. However, the danger to pedestrians in Orlando developed as a result of years of poor planning. It will not be fixed in a short period of time by the small projects mentioned above. The most that we can all do to help address this problem now is to be more mindful of pedestrians while driving, and to be on the lookout to avoid dangerous situations while walking on the streets of Orlando.