National Survey Says Tulsa Among The Most Dangerous For Pedestrians
TULSA, Oklahoma - A new national survey marks Tulsa as one of the more dangerous cities for people walking, but Tulsa Police say doesn't quite tell the whole story.
Tulsa averages 15 pedestrians killed each year. The circumstances vary, but police say it usually happens in places with poor lighting, or no sidewalks, or where drivers don't expect to see them.
"The pedestrian has some responsibility there, said Tulsa Police Corporal Brian Collum, "especially if there's a crosswalk close by and unfortunately if the crosswalk is 100 feet or a half mile, that's still where you have to go cross."
In Tulsa, some crossings are poorly marked, encouraging people to stray outside the lines. Sometimes new developments go in before street improvements, forcing people to risk it and cross busy streets like 11th, near Mother Road Market, where people run in between passing cars to get across.
The new report, from Smart Growth America, gives Tulsa poor marks on pedestrian safety - listing Oklahoma 14th most dangerous among the states and Tulsa 29th among cities, with 148 pedestrians killed over 10 years.
The report raised eyebrows at Tulsa City Hall, where the Transportation Advisory Board works to improve street design and safety.
"We need to make sure we understand the flow of traffic and the unintended consequences when we're putting in developments" said Councilor Lori Decter Wright, "We need to think through the whole effect - if we're putting in multi-family units with no sidewalks, what effect is that going to have?
Tulsa has some crosswalks with clear striping and signs, but even then people sometimes cross outside the lines. Tulsa Police blame pedestrians 90% of the time - but they also believe better street design could help even when a pedestrian makes a mistake.
Police say drivers bear the responsibility to pay attention, and not use a phone while driving, so they can be aware of the unexpected.