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Photos of dangerous streets have been streaming in

After putting out the call far and wide for pictures of streets designed for speeding traffic at the expense of safe travel by people on foot or bike, we’ve been getting some great — and by great, we mean frightening and terrible — photos of inconvenient, poorly-planned, dangerous and downright hostile conditions for pedestrians.

Here is a sampling of some of what we’ve received so far.

Bladensburg-22 Originally uploaded by wtrecat to Flickr.
MD 450 just west of junction with MD 202. Very busy road with no pedestrian crossing at this spot across from El Primo international market, 5403 Annapolis Rd.

Note that this photo from Maryland just outside D.C. is taken at a Metro bus stop. And there appears to be no safe crossing immediately nearby.

Incomplete Street Originally uploaded by Boenau to Flickr.
No sidewalks? No problem!

There’s no sidewalk at all along this road. And the overgrowth forces anyone trying to walk out into the roadway. If there is a crosswalk at the light up ahead, pedestrians have to cross at least 8 lanes of traffic and a median to make it across.

Incomplete Street Originally uploaded by Boenau to Flickr.
As if walking on the goat path isn’t bad enough, rainfall drains and collects on the grass, forcing pedestrians into the street.

Just because there aren’t any sidewalks doesn’t mean that people won’t or aren’t walking. It has to be terrifying to walk on this narrow strip of grass next to 3 straight lanes of high speed traffic. And once again, if there is a crosswalk 200-400 yards down behind this pedestrian, people on foot will have to cross at least 6 lanes of traffic and a median in one light cycle.

elkton_rd3 Originally uploaded by Transportation for America to Flickr.
Submitted photo by Frank Warnock of Bike Delaware. www.bikede.org/ (Please credit photographer, not T4 America.)

Smooth, graduated turning radii like this are especially dangerous to pedestrians. Turns are engineered like this so traffic can make a right turn while only having to barely slow their speed, making it extremely hazardous for people on foot to cross from the island back to the side of the road.

IMG_6603 Originally uploaded by Transportation for America to Flickr.
Bee Caves Rd/RM 2244 west of Walsh Tarlton Lane in Austin, Texas. Roadway under TxDOT jurisdiction. Submitted photo by Joan Hudson, P.E., of the Texas Transportation Institute. (Please credit photographer, not T4 America.)

The photos we got from this supporter in Texas were all taken on roads managed by the Texas DOT. Pedestrians here have to walk in a ditch with nowhere to escape to if a car veers slightly out of the lane.

Photos like these could be taken in almost any place in the country. These conditions are far too common and much too accepted by the people who plan and design our streets and roads. Two-thirds of all pedestrian fatalities in the last 10 years occurred on roads much like these — high-speed arterials designed first and foremost for moving speeding traffic as fast as possible with little consideration for the needs or safety of people on foot or bike. Federal dollars and design guidelines have helped create these dangerous situations across the country, and the federal government shouldn’t be able to walk away and pin the problem on the states.

Simple policy changes and priorities for spending at the federal level can help save lives immediately.

We’re not finished collecting these photos — we want to see yours! When you send them in (click here for instructions), feel free to include location information as well and we’ll plot and share the location. And bonus points for photos that show people in them.

Thank you so much to the dozens of people who sent us photos or submitted them to our Flickr group. Keep it up!


  1. SideWalks4Kids

    13 years ago

    I see this all the time…even kids and teens walking along side the busy streets with no sidewalks as cars and trucks pass by at high speeds. I loss my teenage son last year, he was hit by a careless driver. “I just want people to WAKE UP!” Cars and trucks weigh between 2500-4000 plus lbs. If you hit a human life, the possibility of you killing them are likely!

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  3. Alex Dupuy

    13 years ago

    I just saw a blog featuring an example of a bad idea rather than a bad street: http://www.bricoleurbanism.org/whimsicality/pedestrian-advocacy-gone-wrong/

    Kirkland, WA is making pedestrian crossings safer by placing “yellow flags at each side of the street
    for the pedestrians to carry and hold out as they cross the street!”

    I’m not sure why this is filed under “whimsicality” – I think stupidity would be a better choice.