Transportation

Policy Analysts Say Houston Needs To Do More To Keep Pedestrians Safe

Figures show Houston remains a dangerous place to walk, but analysts say there’s a lot the city can do to make things safer.

 

Pedestrians crossingPedestrians cross St Joseph Parkway at Main Street in downtown Houston.

Rachel Fairbank knows first-hand what it’s like to get hit by a car. It happened in 2010, when Fairbank was a graduate student at the Baylor College of Medicine.

She was struck on Main Street and sustained head injuries.

Fairbank recovered, but she says it took her three years to regain the confidence to drive a car. She says that accident wouldn’t have happened if there was a safer way to get across the street.

“For example, if you want to go from the Rice Jogging Trail over to Hermann Park, you have to cross a couple of intersections that are pretty scary,” says Fairbank.

Figures from the Alliance for Biking and Walking show about 20 pedestrian fatalities in Houston for every 10,000 people who walk to work.

A guest on Houston Matters, Jay Blazek Crossley with the public policy group Houston Tomorrow says pedestrians have a lot of the same complaints. They say drivers just aren’t looking out for them.

“People see drivers on their cellphones, covering up the crosswalk, not noticing there are pedestrians there, or just simply driving too fast,” says Crossley.

Crossley says Houston needs to launch a stronger initiative to prevent pedestrian fatalities, by bringing all city departments together and not just leaving it up to police.

 

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Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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