A report from the National Complete Streets Coalition ranks Indiana 23rd worst in the country for pedestrian fatalities. The cause, it says, is poor street design.
Too often, communities plan roads to benefit drivers without considering pedestrians or cyclists.
AARP Indiana State Director June Lyle says the problem disproportionately affects the elderly. She says older Hoosiers won’t have the option of continuing to live in their homes if communities don’t start considering all road users when building new roads or upgrading existing ones.
“Things like having sidewalks and bike lanes,” Lyle says of the factors that make a difference for pedestrians. “It can mean having curb ramps and things that are accessible to people with disabilities, widening our sidewalks, providing pedestrian countdown signals.”
Kim Irwin is the executive director of Health by Design, an Indiana community design coalition. She says making safety upgrades isn’t necessarily expensive and can be done with existing resources.
“It’s a very, very minor part of a project,” Irwin says. “Usually only like 1% to 3% – to add pedestrian infrastructure.”
Irwin says many Indiana communities are making what she calls “Complete Streets” a greater part of their planning, including commissions in Tippecanoe County, Indianapolis, Bloomington and Evansville.