Design’s Role in Curbing Pedestrian Fatalities



Dangerous by Design is a national report on the epidemic of pedestrian fatalities and what we can do to prevent these deaths.

Dangerous by Design 2014 crunches the numbers on 10 years of pedestrian fatality data, looking at where these fatalities happen and who’s most at risk. In the decade 2003–2012, more than 47,000 people died while walking on our streets — 16 times the number of Americans who died in natural disasters over the same decade. Another 676,000 people were injured. Moreover, some of the most vulnerable populations — children, older Americans — suffer disproportionately. The majority of pedestrian deaths happen on arterial roads.

Think Coast Highway and Laguna Canyon Road and two-thirds on roads designed to federal specifications and supported by federal money.

Too many of these roads are built with only one objective in mind: moving cars as quickly as possible, regardless of being interstates or main streets.

On the local level our town averages two crumpled bodies per month. That’s about 240 pedestrian crashes in the last 10 years. Street design is the most important factor in preventing these tragedies. Good street design does not include white paint and flashing lights. The first thing that needs to happen is a paradigm shift in how we value residents and visitors on foot.


Michael Hoag, Laguna Beach

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  1. Thank you Michael Hoag for helping raise awareness of these horrible statistics and the harsh reality they represent. We like to boast of our “village” atmosphere and villages traditionally suggest lots of people on foot. We not only need to be cognizant of the presence of pedestrians on our roads and our streets, we need to remember they too have every right to be there.

    When will our city council and our business community recognize that pedestrian traffic is a valuable as vehicular traffic. After all, people shop and eat, not cars? Our city leaders need to create and to act on a comprehensive plan to make Laguna Beach friendly and safe for all – especially people on foot or on a bicycle. Solving the issue and alleviating the problem of traffic congestion by developing remote parking and providing easy transport of visitors into our village would be a wise place to start.

  2. I agree, I’d eat/shop/entertain in laguna more if while riding or walking through I felt more comfortable. If I’m going to drive anyway, why not just park at irvine spectrum, laguna can never compete on parking with irvine , and why should it?

    It’s time to narrow lanes, add bike paths and comfortable sidewalks, especially in south laguna.

  3. In agreement, Michael Hoag!
    I walk & bike in fear in Laguna Beach~the local streets and highways are FEARWAYS not freeways!
    Remote peripheral parking to reduce traffic congestion emission is the only way to reduce the number of cars coming into town!
    ACTV lot should be expanded into a parking garage to capture vehicles before they come into town!
    Scooter, bike & electric rickshaws should be used as people movers in the summertime in the downtown!


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