Atlanta ranks 8th deadliest city for pedestrians - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Atlanta ranks 8th deadliest city for pedestrians

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Who wants to be a pedestrian in Atlanta? Not CBS46's Harry Samler. "I'm not crossing that street!" said Harry. "I'm not crossing because I'm going to die if I cross!"

Is Harry exaggerating? Maybe. But he has serious reservations about crosswalks because the crosswalk signal is often wrong. Mostly because drivers in metro Atlanta don't like to stop at yellow lights. Or even red lights.

"Four cars just blew that light," said Harry, as the traffic whizzed past him.

A leading national research group, Smart Growth America, recently ranked Atlanta the 8th deadliest city in the nation for pedestrians. You can read their report, Dangerous by Design, here.

"A lot of what makes Atlanta really unsafe for pedestrians is the fact that we have a lot of people walking in areas that weren't built for pedestrians," said Ian Sansom, the Pedestrian Safety Program Manager at PEDS, Atlanta's pedestrian advocacy program.

Buford Highway tops the list with 22 fatalities in nine years. It's a predominately Hispanic area.

"I've seen children running with a parent across the street in the middle of the highway in the Dominican Republic," said Jose Marquez-Leon. He is the National President and CEO at the Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association.

Marquez said it has less to do with culture as it is about getting from Point A to Point B. He pointed to Tara Boulevard in Clayton County where there have been 16 fatalities in the last few years.

An interactive map created by Smart Growth America shows the dangers that can cause. Twenty-two have died on Memorial Drive and Covington Highway, another 16 fatalities occurred on Tara Boulevard, and 11 died on South Cobb Drive in just the last nine years. And that's not counting the number of people hit who survive.

"I've seen so many crazy things happen in the street," said Marquez. "Something has to be done about it."

Authorities have spent 11.5 million to improve Buford Highway's deadliest stretch between Lenox and Clairmont Road. Lighted crosswalks with center islands have been installed. But the numbers are not yet in to prove that the improvements are making a difference.

"What we do know is that people are still being hit and killed on Buford Highway," said PEDS Ian Sansom. "Not all of the improvements have gone in."

PEDS recommends reporting any violations or pedestrian hazards you see. They have a city to city pedestrian hazards online reporting tool that's easy to use.

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