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Report: Mich. Highest In Midwest For Pedestrian Deaths

LANSING (WWJ) - You could be taking your life in your hands when you cross the street in Southeast Michigan. According to a new report, Metro Detroit has the twelfth highest pedestrian death rate in the country, and the highest in the Midwest.

(Scroll down for a link to the interactive map)

The report shows that pedestrians account for 12 percent of all traffic deaths nationally, but Detroit has double that fatality rate, at 22 percent.

WWJ Newsradio 950 spoke Tuesday with CeCe Grant,  Michigan Director of Transportation for America, which did the study.

She said Lansing needs to put more emphasis on improving pedestrian safety.

"Because of our automotive culture, we have a lot of eight and ten-lane streets. Not only just highways, but major streets like Eight Mile, Woodward, Gratiot. And these streets, they're just not designed with pedestrians in mind. They're very dangerous for people to cross, especially elderly and senior citizens," she said.

- View a copy of the report (.pdf format) -

Grant said that, nationwide, state departments of transportation have allocated only 1.5 percent of available federal funds to projects that retrofit dangerous roads or create safe alternatives. She believes Michigan can do better.

"We just need Lansing and our policy makers to actually make complete streets -- streets that are safe for walking, biking, children going back and forth to school.  It's really a minor amount of money to retrofit these streets to make them safer for everyone," Grant said.

According to Grant, one-third of Metro Detroiters don't drive. And with higher gas prices, she says more people are walking or riding their bikes.

How safe is it where you're walking?

On Transportation for America's website, you'll find an interactive map, allowing you to take a look at the streets and roads near you to see how safe or unsafe they may be.  Test it out at this link.

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