Roadscapes Stuff

Roadscapes Wednesday: America’s Deadliest Road, Explained

Welcome to the Roadscapes Wednesday segment! Each week here on Geek Alabama, Roadscapes Wednesday will feature roads and infrastructure related topics. Geek Alabama Editor / Publisher Nathan Young is often called the “road geek” for a good reason, Nathan loves roads and loves talking about roads!

US road design favors speed over pedestrian safety.

Most American roads aren’t just unpleasant for pedestrians, they can be dangerous. Pedestrian fatalities have been rising in the past few years, and urban planners point to the way roads are designed as the culprit.

A group of urban planners identified 60 pedestrian fatality hot spots throughout the US, and a 1,000-meter corridor of US-19 in New Port Richey, Florida, topped their list. Seventeen pedestrians lost their lives along this short stretch of road in the study period of 2001 to 2016.

The fatality hot spots on the study’s list shared a lot of design characteristics. Many of them are arterial thoroughfares: roads historically built to keep high-speed traffic off of nearby residential streets. But the way US communities developed in a sprawling fashion along these roads meant these roadways also became business centers that pedestrians might need to access. The number of lanes and distances between crosswalks are among other dangerous design elements.

For this video, we went to New Port Richey to walk along US-19 and document the design characteristics identified in the study.

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