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Bay Area Ranks High For Pedestrian Fatalities

OAKLAND (KCBS) - When it comes to crossing the street, the greater San Francisco-Oakland metropolitan area and the South Bay are two of the most deadly parts of the country, according to a national study that shows the Bay Area averaged 100 pedestrian deaths a year over the last decade.

The study released Tuesday by the advocacy group Transportation for America found the percentage of crashes where pedestrians were killed was around 25 percent in both areas—twice the national average. Only New York and Los Angeles were ranked as more dangerous.

KCBS' Anna Duckworth Reports:

"These are freeway access roads," said Jonathan Bair of Walk Oakland Bike Oakland as traffic roared through the intersection of 5th Street and Broadway. Crossing signals on the busy thoroughfare are timed so that pedestrians cross as cars speed up to get on Interstate 880.

The report found that wider, high-capacity cross city roads account for more than half the pedestrian deaths in the nation. Those streets were often built in ways that encourage speeding and distracted driving, said Barbara McCann of the Complete Streets Coalition, an umbrella organization of bicycling and pedestrian advocacy groups.

McCann pointed to a similar street in Seattle as an example of how redesigning large arterial roads can reduce collisions and save lives.

"They installed new crossings. They put in bus plazas," she said.

The result was fewer collisions and deaths, anywhere from 21 percent to 80 percent, even on streets where bicycling rose dramatically.

McCann said the coalition was calling on Congress to designate funding for pedestrian safety improvements.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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