St. Petersburg, Fla. – Efforts to improve Florida’s livability are growing. But the Sunshine State still ranked as the nation’s deadliest state for pedestrians, with eight out of the 10 most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians to be found in Florida, according to a new report.
“This sobering report confirms what we have known for years,” said Jeff Johnson, AARP’s Florida state director. “Florida is the deadliest state in America to simply walk. And older Floridians are especially at risk.”
“If there is any good news for Floridians here, it is that at the state and many local levels, elected leaders and public agencies already have begun to take steps in response,” Johnson added.
“At the federal level, we need better options to fund pedestrian safety and mobility options. At the state level, Gov. DeSantis should have the state of Florida join the AARP-World Health Organization Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, as three other states already have done, and further empower state agencies to address this dangerous issue. Cities and counties can take a stand against this deadly problem by adopting ‘Vision Zero’ goals of zero pedestrian deaths and by adopting Complete Streets policies.”
“Ordinary Floridians also can play a role, by encouraging elected officials to prioritize livable community policies and by joining local Bike/Walk coalitions.”
“We should redouble our efforts to make Florida livable for people of any age.”
The report, released by the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, AARP and other organizations, ranked Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford as the most dangerous metro area in the nation for pedestrians, with Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach; Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville; North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton; Lakeland-Winter Haven; and Jacksonville ranked as the next five most dangerous metro areas.
Cape Coral-Ft. Myers ranked eighth and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater ranked ninth. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach ranks 14th in the study.
Johnson cited these positive steps:
- Several Florida cities, including Orlando (listed as the most dangerous metro area in the U.S. in this report) recently have adopted a “Vision Zero” goal of eliminating pedestrian and bicycle fatalities.
- The Florida Department of Transportation is working with a broad coalition of cities, counties, grassroots advocates and community organizations to make Florida safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- A growing number of Florida communities have joined the AARP-World Health Organization Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, and are working on their own and with each other to enact policies that make streets and highways safer, among many other aspects of livability.
The report provides an expanded look at pedestrian safety patterns in metro areas around the nation, and also examines how pedestrian fatalities disproportionately affect diverse communities and older people.
The report is available at: https://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/dangerous-by-design