The Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP) is described by today’s Louisville Courier-Journal as “a coalition trying to improve the nation's transportation system.”
The STTP is about to release a report entitled “Mean Streets,” in which it will be revealed that Louisville ranks as the 23rd (of 50) most dangerous area in the United States for pedestrians and cyclists.
Factors cited in the report include refrains familiar to anyone who walks or bikes frequently. More than half the roads in Louisville lack sidewalks. There are far too few dedicated bike lanes and paths, and far too many drivers with more attitude than skill.
I can attest to these problems, having cycled close to 3,000 miles the past two years in and around Louisville, New Albany and environs. Actually, it's seemed a bit better lately, as I haven't had garbage thrown at me from passing vehicles for more than two years.
Interestingly, the accompanying list reveals that almost two-thirds of the most dangerous cities are located in the “red” states of the former Confederacy.
Which prompts a thought, though certainly unoriginal: Are they called red states because of red necks?
Anyway, is this because of NASCAR’s deleterious influence on generations of southern exurbians? Or, perhaps there's a meteorological explanation in that the southern weather is more pleasant, so consequently there’s more walking and riding hours, and hence a higher rate of accidents.
One study dismisses the latter (see below for link), so I’m opting for the former, as it fits my prejudices much more comfortably.
On a different but related front, sociologist Richard Florida’s “creativity index,” which takes into account factors like diversity, high tech receptivity, innovation and diversity, ranks the Louisville metropolitan area 45th out of the 49 most populous American cities.
Oddly, many of the cities listed as most dangerous for walking and cycling still rank near the top of the creativity index.
Louisville finishes poorly in both, and this can only mean that it’s way past time for a good, stiff drink as we contemplate how far we must go.
The Courier’s article:
STPP web site:
The more walkers and cyclists, the safer it is?
Richard Florida’s rankings: