FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kentucky Youth Advocates
Kathy Harrison Turner
Louisville Metro Dept. of Public Health & Wellness
LOUISVILLE, KY – New data from the Kentucky State Police illustrates the hazards of being a pedestrian or cyclist in Louisville. Over the last seven years, there were 4,188 crashes that involved a person walking or biking in the Louisville Metro. Pedestrian fatalities accounted for 25 percent of all roadway fatalities, influencing Jefferson County’s ranking of 35th most dangerous metro area in the United States for people walking.
Complete Streets for Louisville, a new coalition, is using this data to highlight the unacceptable number of crashes involving people walking and riding bicycles in Louisville and emphasize the need to update the city’s ordinance around streets and roads. The coalition is made up of diverse organizations committed to benefitting the health, safety, and economic well-being of all residents.
“Complete streets” is a term to describe roads that allow safe and convenient travel for everyone who uses them and for all modes of transportation. The data shows the need to improve the city’s complete street policies to meet national standards to benefit the health and safety of all residents.
Louisville adopted a complete streets ordinance in 2008 with a unanimous vote by Metro Council. Advocates are now asking Metro Council to amend it to ensure transparency, opportunities for community input, and equitable implementation. With recent overwhelming support of the Planning Commission, Metro Council President David James has filed an ordinance amendment (O-267-19) to strengthen the city’s complete streets policy.
“The number one responsibility of government is the safety of its citizens. No one should have to risk their life in order to walk to the grocery store, get some exercise, or ride their bike to work. This data serves as a call to action,” said Councilman David James, president of Louisville Metro Council.
The report also includes the rate of crashes involving a pedestrian or bicyclist per square mile by Metro Council District, illustrating the areas of most needed improvement to be in the urban core. Council District 4 has the highest rate of pedestrian and bike involved crashes per square mile at 135.9 with District 6 (79.96 per square mile) and District 3 (41.89 per square mile) following.
“While people biking and walking have been hit by cars in every part of Louisville, older adults, people of color, and people walking in low-income communities bear a higher share of this harm,” said Rita Morrow of AARP Kentucky. “We need to update our complete streets ordinance to ensure the safety of all residents of our community.”
“Our health and well-being are shaped by the environment in which we live,” said Dr. Sarah Moyer, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and Chief Health Strategist for the city. “People who live in walkable neighborhoods are not only safer, but they are more physically active and more likely to be a healthy weight. A stronger complete streets ordinance can help reduce the high rates of chronic health conditions we suffer from in Louisville.”
Learn more about the Complete Streets for Louisville Coalition and view the new Pedestrian and Bike Involved Crash data at www.completestreetsforlou.com.
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