Pedestrian deaths in Arizona’s 7th Congressional District are highest in U.S., report says

Arizona’s 7th Congressional District is the most dangerous place in the U.S. to be a pedestrian, according to @SmartGrowthUSA. (File photo by Natalie Tarangioli/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – Arizona’s 7th Congressional District is the most dangerous district for pedestrians in the U.S., according to a new report by a coalition that advocates for safe streets.

From 2008 to 2017, 344 pedestrians were killed in the district, which includes downtown Phoenix, south Phoenix and parts of Glendale and Tolleson, the report by Smart Growth America says.

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Democrat who represents the district, cosponsored the Complete Streets Act of 2019, which was introduced Wednesday in the U.S. House and Senate.

If passed, states would be required to fund safe-street projects, such as bike lanes and crosswalks.

“We need to make our communities friendly to all types of transportation, including biking, walking and public transit,” Gallego said in a statement. “It will not only make our streets safer, but also spur the economy and improve public health. I am proud to introduce legislation that will help create and sustain vibrant, accessible and sustainable communities in Phoenix and across the country.”

The ranking was part of Most Deadly U.S. House Districts, released Wednesday by the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America. The Washington, D.C., coalition advocates for livable neighborhoods that work for everyone, not just motorists, according to its website.

The list ranked the 100 districts with the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities, and four of Arizona’s nine districts made the list. The others are District 1 in northeast Arizona, represented by Democrat Tom O’Halleran; District 3, which includes Pima County and the southwest portion of Maricopa County, represented by Democrat Raul Grijalva; and District 9, which includes parts of Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix and Chandler, represented by Democrat Greg Stanton.

The report said the number of pedestrians killed by drivers while walking has increased by 35% over the past 10 years and urged Congress to prioritize human lives and reflect this priority in the funding, design, operation and maintenance of our roads.

“After decades of designing streets to move cars as quickly as possible instead of prioritizing the safety of all people, the United States has become an incredibly deadly place to go for a walk,” the report said.

It also said that from 2008 to 2017, drivers killed 49,340 pedestrians across the United States – that’s more than 13 deaths every day. Last year in Arizona, there were 1,764 car crashes involving pedestrians, according to the state Department of Transportation.

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