Raleigh ranked deadly for pedestrians

November 10, 2009 12:13:58 PM PST
Raleigh and Cary are used to being designated among the best places to live by major magazines and independent studies.But now they're being deemed the sixth most dangerous places in the nation for pedestrians.

On Capital Boulevard, cross walks are placed far apart. Once travelers go north past Buffalo Road, the walks simply don't exist, nor does a sidewalk.

In a study by Transportation for America they ranked the Raleigh-Cary area among the most dangerous in the country for pedestrians, based on the number of people who walk and the number of pedestrian accidents per capita.

Cary pedestrian Shawn Staley says he grew up in Cary and recently moved back.

He says he was surprised at the number six rating. But, then again, he says he figures all the growth in 1980s and 1990s came before people thought much about being pedestrian friendly.

"When you do certain changes that fast, you know, sometimes things are overlooked," he said.

Both Raleigh and Cary officials aren't thrilled about being on a "worst of" list.

"That's not one of the lists we'd like to be on," Cary Traffic Engineer Lori Cove said. "I did briefly have a chance to look at the study and we pulled some data and we, Cary actually had only one pedestrian fatality in that time frame."

Most of the pedestrian accidents in the two-year period were outside Cary, many in Raleigh.

But while Cary only had one accident during that time, it still has plenty of pedestrian problems.

One sidewalk in particular, leads to nowhere along a busy Walnut Street in front of the massive Cary Crossroads shopping area.

Where it ends, pedestrians have worn a small path in the grass that leads to bridge across US-1 and there is virtually no room on the bridge for someone walking. At the intersection on the other side, there is no crosswalk.

"There is some catching up to do," Cove said.

According to the Transportation for America study, nearly 5,000 pedestrians are killed each year in preventable accidents.

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