Well, the city's only pedestrian advocacy group (and its one employee!) released a long-term study today charting pedestrian safety in neighborhoods around the region. Willamette Pedestrian Coalition Director Steph Routh talked with regional transit planners, surveyed 450 locals, and walked the streets in Sunnyside, downtown Portland, Clackamas, Tigard, Beaverton and other suburbs to figure out how they fared for people actually trying to walk around. Read the study here!
When asked how much money from transportation projects should be spent on pedestrian infrastructure (that means sidewalks, crosswalks, paths, and benches) the average survey respondent said 20 percent. The state spends 1.5 percent of its federal transportation funds on pedestrian projects, says Transportation for America (pdf), amounting to a whopping $1.28 per Oregonian spent annually on pedestrian projects. The people who think we should twenty times what we do on pedestrians aren't lefty communists; 100 percent of people use sidewalks, but pedestrians are treated as an afterthought on many road projects.
"The big thing people said was a concern was the need for safe crossings. We had assumed that the big one would be the need for sidewalks, but really people just want to be able to cross the street," says Routh. Every intersection in Oregon is legally a crosswalk, even if there's no stripes on the road. "But if the street is five lanes wide and there's no traffic control devices, you're exposed and there's no cue for drivers to stop," says Routh.
The Portland Tribune has a big article this week about pedestrian safety (headline: "Danger!") mapping out the most dangerous intersections in Portland, based on crash data (we did this back in 2007 for bikes). Check out the list on the right.