Safer Streets

With pedestrians being killed every two hours in the U.S., and pedestrian deaths on the rise again in Illinois, it’s critical that new laws are enacted to protect individuals of all ages on sidewalks, intersections, and bicycle lanes. AARP has strongly advocated for safe streets legislation. That is why we’re greatly appreciative of Cong. Rodney Davis’ support for the Safe Streets Act of 2013, as he became the first member of the Illinois Congressional Delegation to sign onto the legislation as a co-sponsor.

“Older pedestrians have the highest fatality rate of any group. In fact, last Fall, an AARP volunteer was killed while crossing a street in Belleville,” said AARP State Director Bob Gallo whom, along with State President Merri Dee today sent a thank you letter to Cong. Davis.

The Safe Streets Act is a bipartisan bill requiring no or minimal additional spending on new roadways or improvement projects. The legislation directs state and regional planners to consider better design of sidewalks, intersections, bicycle lanes and other features to improve safety for all. Planners would have two years to adopt “Complete Streets” policies that ensure the safety needs of all roadway users are taken into account during the design, planning, construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, maintenance, and operating phases of transportation projects. The approach is already being used in 28 states, and more than 490 regional and local jurisdictions.

The number of pedestrians killed in the state rose to 134 in 2011 from 115 in 2010, according to data from the Illinois Secretary of State.

Altogether, traffic deaths rose in Illinois in 2013 for the second straight year. Older individuals are at a greater risk, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths in the United States, and over 22 percent in Illinois among the 65 and older age group.

Along with AARP, the Safe Streets Act is supported by the National Association of Realtors, the American Planning Association, the American Public Transportation Association, Transportation for America, Easter Seals, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, the America Society of Landscape Architects, America Walks, and the League of American Bicyclists.

Thank you for your leadership on transportation issues, including your co-sponsorship of H.R. 2468, the Safe Streets Act of 2013 Congressman Davis!