Walk audits identify need to calm traffic
The Federal Highway Administration recently flagged St. Louis as a focus city for its high rate of traffic-related deaths. Of all pedestrian-related traffic crashes in the state of Missouri, 24 percent occur in the city of St. Louis. This year, 18 pedestrians have been fatally struck in the city. This is more than those killed in the previous two years combined.
While the data is alarming, Trailnet has been working to unite St. Louis neighborhoods to improve safety for people who walk and ride bikes by organizing walk audits.
Walk audits are guided walking tours meant to bring together local stakeholders and evaluate how the built environment affects their communities. The walk audits target the neighborhoods of JeffVanderLou, The Ville/Greater Ville, Dutchtown, and Carondelet.
The primary concern voiced by participants throughout the audits was the speed of motor vehicles moving through their neighborhoods. Residents shared that people driving would often blow through stop signs and drive around curb corners at a high rate of speed.
The audits also revealed that many crosswalks did not meet requirements set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act as they were missing curb ramps and/or markings. In addition, many existing crosswalks were fading and needed to be re-striped.
The objectives for the walk audits include:
- Ensure participants know what’s working and what’s not for safe walking in their neighborhood.
- Endure participants can talk confidently about what needs to be fixed and know how to report it.
- Ensure participants have identified potential long and short-term projects to improve walkability.
Trailnet was recently awarded a Plan4Health grant in collaboration with the HEAL Partnership, providing resources for the organization to conduct the walk audits.
The walk audits were essential to the progress of Trailnet’s work with Plan4Health in identifying four pop-up traffic calming demonstration locations, which will take place this October and November. The demonstrations are meant to educate communities on what neighborhoods would look like with features meant to reduce traffic speeds and encourage safety.
The audits also helped Trailnet in its work with the city’s Board of Public Service and Streets Department to create site plans for the demonstrations.
Here’s a sneak peak at how the site plans are coming together: