In a recent study by Smart Growth America, the 50 largest metropolitan areas in America were ranked by their Pedestrian Danger Index, with Sacramento falling into the 23rd place. High Pedestrian Danger Indexes indicated more danger, while low Indexes indicated less danger. The region ranked with the highest Index was Orlando-Kissimmee, Florida at 244.28, while the lowest was Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Massachusetts with 18.65. The Sacramento region received a score of 81.27.
Recent articles by major news outlets, including the Sacramento Bee and Fox 40 have suggested that Sacramento “is among the 25 most-dangerous places to walk among U.S. metropolitan areas,” and that “Sacramento was ranked the 23rd most deadly city [in America].” (Sac Bee, Fox 40)
“This is a misrepresentation,” says Teri Duarte, Executive Director of WALKSacramento. “What that ranking did was rank all of the fifty largest cities of the United States according to the Pedestrian Danger Index–and Sacramento came in 23rd, so it came in in the middle.”
Tragic incidents, including the death of Michelle Murigi in 2012, suggest a need for the expansion of local pedestrian safety measures.
But when asked to describe experiences with Sacramento residents who frequently walk, Duarte said that she had encountered a variety of situations.
“Let’s face it, every city that is big has problems with its environment for walking,” Duarte comments. “I know one woman who had her son killed crossing the street, and I knew of the teenager who was killed crossing in a crosswalk on Fruitridge Road in 2012.”
“[On] the other end of the spectrum,” Duarte continues, “[I’ve known] people who have moved to rural areas and found that they couldn’t walk because there’s really nowhere safe to walk on rural roads, have gained weight, and
then moved to Sacramento in the downtown area… and much prefer the Downtown area where you can walk safely and to a lot of interesting places.”
Past programs such as the Pedestrian Program have sought to create a more pedestrian-friendly Sacramento region. Non-profit organizations such as WALKSacramento are also striving to increase the pedestrian safety of Sacramento streets.