Fort Lauderdale is beautiful. Lots of beaches. Lots of yachts. Great nightlife. And pretty damned deadly when you're crossing the street. Welp, you take the good with the bad!
This according to a new report by Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition ominously titled "Dangerous by Design 2014."
It's sort of a modern-day "Blood On the Highway" but for those who commute on foot. Specifically, the report looks at road and highway designs and whether commuter safety is considered when they're designed, as a way to determine which cities are safe and which aren't.
Fort Lauderdale, the report says, is one that isn't.
Using data from a "Pedestrian Danger Index" as well as data from the National Household Travel Survey, the report calculated how many people commute on foot in any particular city. They combined this with the number of pedestrian fatalities in the past five years to make their rankings.
The Pedestrian Danger Index in the U.S. came to 52.2, with the average rate of fatalities at 1.56 per 100,000 people, per CityLab.com.
The conclusion in the group's 50 largest metro areas study is that Florida is a deadly place for pedestrians, with the state taking the top four on the list with the Orlando-Kissimmee area topping the rankings.
The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach area combined to come in fourth in the rankings, with the report finding a Pedestrian Danger Index of 145.33.
The study admits that this isn't a perfect science, what with the lack of truly accurate data for pedestrians who commute on foot. But the overall study does show that cities need to take more active measures in ensuring their streets and highways are safe for people trying to cross them.
A national Safe Streets Act legislation was introduced in February by Sens. Brian Schatz from Hawaii and Mark Begich of Alaska that would help improve the safety of roads and expand access for pedestrians.
The overall hope is increased awareness that roads are for everyone and that drivers need to be aware of this even as they careen down the road to work and home.
The Florida Department of Transportation secretary Billy Hattaway has gotten in on this too, saying, "We want to change the culture, just as we did with the increased use of seat belts," per CityLab.com.
"The federal government needs to hold states accountable for setting and making real progress toward significantly reducing the number and severity of traffic crashes," writes Smart Growth America's Stephanie Seskin. "We need to adopt a proactive Complete Streets policy so that new transportation projects consider the needs of all users."
You can read the Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition below.