T4America Blog

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Raquel Nelson’s story may be rare, but the dangerous conditions are not — show us

Many of you were shocked by the story of Raquel Nelson, the single mom in Atlanta charged with vehicular homicide when her son was killed while crossing an unsafe street with her. While shocking, head-scratching stories like hers are thankfully rare, it’s emblematic of the road design in many places that we live, and we want to make sure that Congress gets that picture loud and clear.

We want to show them that roads like Austell Road by Raquel Nelson’s apartment — 4 lane speedways with few considerations for pedestrians — are far too common.

So send us your photos of dangerous, unsafe and poorly planned streets out there across America.

We want to see what streets look like out there for people trying to walk. We want to see the missing crosswalks, the 1/2 mile treks to the nearest crosswalk along a 50 mph highway, and dangerous roads designed for speeding traffic rather than safe walking. More than 47,000 people were killed while walking from 2000-2009, and a large majority of them occurred on roads fitting these descriptions.

A few details about how to send in photos or video:

  • Email: You can email photos to us at photos@t4america.org. When you send them, please let us know if we can upload these to our Flickr account (with your credit information in caption like this one.) Anywhere we use your photos, we’ll always give you credit.
  • Flickr: Add photos to the T4 America Flickr group, and tag them with “dangerous by design” so we’re sure to see them. If you have photos but don’t want to add them to the group, you can just add the tag “dangerous by design”. We always prefer photos licensed with Creative Commons, so we can use these photos in meetings with Congress or on the blog with credit given to the source.
  • Video: You can upload videos directly to our Facebook page, but Youtube or other video sharing sites are fine. Send us a link. If you send in videos directly to the email address, they need to be under 10 mb.
  • If you’ve got another way to show us your photos other than these, drop us a line at photos@t4america.org

Over the next few weeks we’ll highlight some of the most heinous conditions and worst design here on the blog.

Poorly designed streets — often built or designed with federal dollars — endanger pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike. Too many people are walking in these places where they’re likely to become the next statistic because of streets that are dangerous by design. Show Congress what this looks like and help us paint a compelling picture of why we need to invest in safer streets in the next transportation bill.

Your photos will help us in our meetings with Congress and other transportation officials as we press for policies and funding in a transportation bill that will help make walking and biking safer on streets around the country.

Here are some examples of the dangerous and inconvenient conditions pedestrians face in our cities and communities every day.

The New York Times photo by Chip Litherland

New York Times photo by Chip Litherland

Sidewalk Infill_ 82nd 022 Originally uploaded by Transportation for America to Flickr.
Credit to April Bertelsen
Pedestrian Coordinator
Portland Bureau of Transportation
image003 Originally uploaded by Transportation for America to Flickr.
(Please credit photos to Dr. Scott Crawford. Posted here with his permission)
Walking & Roads Originally uploaded by Transportation for America to Flickr.
Credit to Stephen Lee Davis/Transportation for America
Walking in the ditch Originally uploaded by Transportation for America to Flickr.
Photograph by Stephen Lee Davis/Transportation for America.


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  2. Pingback: Streetsblog.net » T4A Building Album of USA’s Most Dangerous Streets, Needs Your Photos!

  3. Pingback: tribe.net: t4america.org

  4. Pingback: Transportation For America » Photos of dangerous streets have been streaming in

  5. DancezThomas

    13 years ago

    When I was visiting Nairobi, Kenya I saw crowds of people walking down the middle of the roads daily, at all hours walking to and from work, shopping, etc. Cars had to somehow maneuver around the bodies as they drove, there were no sidewalks and people just took the street. Everyday I envision seeing people do just that on our busy 4 lane street Brambleton Ave. in Roanoke, VA.  Soon there will be no need to have sidewalks built or crosswalks painted, the people will take the streets.

  6. Darrell

    13 years ago

    What is the goal here?  I’ve been to cities where there are TONS of crosswalks… all that does is teach people to ignore crosswalks.  I’m an extremely cautious driver, but when visiting cities like this even I started to take less and less caution when approaching crosswalks.  There was like 3 to 4 per block… you might as well make the whole road one big crosswalk.  When looking at cases like the Nelson one, about the only thing the city might do imo is to remove current bus stops that are not near a crosswalk.  And that is exactly what they will do if you press them hard enough.  That will make riding the bus a pita for many.  Those stops not near a crosswalk are NOT put there to make people jwalk, they are put there for the convenience of those people that need to go somewhere on THAT side of the road…  Seriously, in that Nelson case the bus DID stop right AT the crosswalk… the mother just choose not to get off there.  Heck, the same bus stops later RIGHT IN FRONT of her apartment on the other side of the road… she wouldn’t have had to cross the street at all.  

  7. Travis Seifman

    13 years ago

    This is marvelous. Truly fantastic. I think that “design for cars, not for people” is far too ubiquitous in our society for any real change to be seen any time soon – there’s just too much inertia, and too much already established, already built, towards a car culture – but, any little bit helps, to get the wheel turning the other way.

    I’m excited to start keeping my eyes out for examples of “dangerous by design,” and taking photos of them. Because here in Honolulu, it’s basically everywhere.