The city of Philadelphia ranks as the fourth most “walkable” city in the United States. The ranking, or walkability score, comes from Walk Score, a website that assesses features of cities and neighborhoods to see how friendly they are to pedestrians.
Before you take this ranking as an endorsement for Philadelphia’s pedestrian safety, consider a few points of the Walk Score system.
Walkability is Not A Measure of Pedestrian Safety
The Walk Score walkability measurement for Philadelphia is 78 on a 100-point scale. Scores of 50 and above mean some, more, or all daily errands do not require a car while scores under 50 signifies most errands will require a vehicle to accomplish.
The Walk Score is merely a measurement of convenience, not of safety. The top ranking city is New York City, yet the 2014 pedestrian accident report showed New York City Police responded to 9,696 pedestrian crashes that year. Even highly walkable cities can have high rates of pedestrian accidents if drivers are not aware of nearby pedestrians.
Philadelphia is Making an Effort to Improve Pedestrian Safety
While the Walk Score does not indicate safety for pedestrians, city officials are making strides to create a more convenient and safe city for walkers. A pedestrian safety education and enforcement strategy began in October 2014, aiming to reduce pedestrian accidents and fatalities. The program has many elements that have proven effective in other areas to decrease pedestrian accidents.
Local law enforcement is the cornerstone of the success of the strategy. Philadelphia’s police force is receiving training in pedestrian safety and will hold more patrols to issue tickets to dangerous drivers in high foot-traffic areas.
Another part of the strategy involves educating pedestrians about walking safety. Not all pedestrian accidents are the fault of a reckless driver, and walkers still need to follow pedestrian safety signals and rules.
Pedestrian Fatalities High in Philadelphia
Even with a high Walk Score and pedestrian safety initiatives, pedestrian fatalities are still much too high. The City of Philadelphia’s Pedestrian Bicycle Crash Report shows a three-year trend of increasing pedestrian fatalities. With 32 reported in fatalities in 2009, the total rose to 37 in 2013. All pedestrian crashes are also on the rise, with 1,810 reported in 2009, and 1,842 reported in 2013.
Center City is where the majority of pedestrian accidents occur in Philadelphia, possibly due to the high volume of walking traffic. If you were injured while walking anywhere in the Philadelphia area, the pedestrian accident attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC are here to help.
Contact us at 215-791-8911 to schedule a FREE consultation regarding your case.