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Danger by design: Cleveland's deadliest roads

Marc Lefkowitz  |  01/10/17 @ 12:00pm  |  Posted in Walking

138 Clevelanders were killed by a motor vehicle while walking on area streets between 2005 and 2014, Smart Growth America reports in Dangerous by Design 2016.

<br />A heat map of where pedestrian fatalities occurred in Greater Cleveland, 2005 - 2014. Data: Smart Growth America.

Cleveland ranks 88th among American metro areas for the most dangerous streets. (Columbus ranked 66th with 198 pedestrians killed. Cincinnati ranked 76th with 168 killed by cars while walking).

People of color are killed at much higher rates than whites as pedestrians in America, SGA reports, because they are more likely to be walking.

A look at one of the new features—an interactive online map—reveals some interesting patterns where Greater Cleveland pedestrian deaths occur.

A preponderance of Clevelanders were killed while walking (and crossing) major roads - those with posted speeds of 35 miles per hour or greater. Studies have shown that the faster a vehicle moves, the deadlier it becomes.

Take a look at the interactive maps of Cleveland and its suburbs. A pedestrian fatality “heat map” (shown above) effectively shows where clusters of fatal crashes are occurring. Particularly deadly roads in the Cleveland area include:

  • Lorain Avenue on Cleveland's west end
  • The main north-south roads of Lander, Brainard, and SOM Center roads in eastern suburbs
  • West 117th between Cleveland and Lakewood
  • Public Square—the roads around the Square
  • St. Clair near E. 105th (in Glenville)
  • York and Pearl roads in Parma
  • Fitch and Cook roads in North Olmsted/ Olmsted Falls

Intersections of major roads and highways interchanges—around I-90 in Westlake and Lorain, for example—are also deadly places.

The point is, roads can be made safer through efforts like complete streets—where communities intentionally design in ways that are beneficial for pedestrians and cyclists. Pedestrian deaths are preventable—by not turning a blind eye to the culpability of a childish desire for speed ahead of the life of a child.

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