Last month, Transportation for America released Dangerous by Design, its annual study of pedestrian fatalities in America's urban centers. According to the study, more than 47,000 pedestrians were killed in the United States in the last decade, the equivalent of a jumbo jet full of passengers crashing about once a month. The study indicated an overwhelming proportion of pedestrian fatalities occur on roads lacking safe sidewalks, crosswalks, and signals. In addition, Americans older than 65, children, and minorities are killed or injured in disproportionate numbers.
This study relates to a recent report by NPR that looks at the growth of the senior population and the need for making cities accessible through safer roads and sidewalks.
And the senior population isn’t the only group at a disadvantage when it comes to sidewalk and road safety. The disabled population is as much at risk when it comes to safety and of course, accessibility. According to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, many cities aren’t “accessible” for people using wheelchairs. The Foundation looked at 100 of the largest cities in the United States and ranked them based on “criteria that provides a snapshot of not just accessibility, but livability for people using wheelchairs.” They came up with a list of twenty cities that offer hospitable environments for people in wheelchairs. Arlington County, Virginia is one of the twenty cities on that list.
Arlington County succeeds as a pedestrian friendly community because of its commitment to instilling positive values and best practices as well as pedestrian advocacy efforts. One such effort is the County’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee. The Committee is made up of volunteers who keep the County focused on making Arlington a better place to walk. They advise the County Board and the County Manager on the implementation of the Pedestrian Transportation Plan and other pertinent matters the Committee deems important, and they advocate for the needs of pedestrians in Arlington.
The Committee holds regular meetings at Courthouse Plaza, open to the public. The next Pedestrian Advisory Committee meeting is TONIGHT --Wednesday, June 8 at 7:00 p.m. To learn more about the Pedestrian Advisory Committee or why Arlington County has been designated a walk friendly community, visit WalkArlington.com.