Study Ranks Memphis Low For Pedestrian Safety

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Pedestrian safety in Memphis has been a concern for a while. A recent study shows while things are improving, the Bluff City still ranks as one of the most dangerous cities in the country for those who walk.
 
The "Dangerous by Design" report for 2016 takes a look at the number of local commuters who walk to work and the most recent data on pedestrian deaths to come up with a "Pedestrian Danger Index" for major cities. This year, Memphis was ranked the ninth most dangerous city for pedestrians. When we spoke with walkers in the medical district, some shared their own close calls.  
 
"I almost got hit by a car because it was driving too fast. They had to stop," says Memphis resident Corliss Cox.
 
"I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that you know areas of town that are safe and areas of town that are maybe better to be avoided, especially at certain times of day," says Memphis resident Molly Shankles.
 
Part of the problem is infrastructure. A city report in May of 2015 estimated 80-95% of all Memphis sidewalks needed repairs. While the city isn't responsible for all of Memphis' sidewalks, officials couldn't fix them all even if they wanted to.
 
"When I was on the city council, I remember somebody on the council asked the then administration how much it would cost if they city repaved all the sidewalks. One billion dollars," says Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.
 
The study also showed that minorities, the poor, and people over 65 had a greater chance of being killed in a pedestrian accident. The reasoning is many people in these groups walk more than others and likely walk in disproportionately unsafe conditions.
 
While the city has completed the Memphis Pedestrian and School Safety Action Plan to help address some of these issues, there is a bit of good news to report. The last "Dangerous by Design" report in 2014 ranked Memphis as the fifth most dangerous city for pedestrians, so this year's ranking is an improvement.

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