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Pedestrian Shaming: An Annual Rite of Halloween

We are out on the corner of North Ave and Peachtree W reminding Pedestrians to

— Georgia DOT (@GADeptofTrans) October 31, 2016

More pedestrians are killed on Halloween than any other day of the year -- by far. The conclusion that transportation agencies all over the country draw from this is that people on foot must be further marginalized with stern admonishments to wear special visibility gear and "follow the rules."

Joseph Cutrufo at Mobilizing the Region tracked some of the worst examples yesterday, like the gem from Georgia DOT above. He says it's tiring:

Walking is a right. Driving a two-ton machine capable of speeds over 100 mph is a privilege. But sometimes transportation agencies seem to think it’s the other way around. And there’s no time of year when this is more evident than Halloween.

Pedestrian shaming” tends to peak in the fall. It starts some time around Walk to School Day, picks up steam as the daylight hours wane, and reliably hits its climax each year on October 31, the most deadly day of the year for young pedestrians. Halloween can teach us volumes about our neighborhoods, but it can also teach us a thing or two about our collective approach to protecting trick-or-treaters.

We couldn’t help but notice how some departments of transportation have focused their Halloween safety messaging at pedestrians, and not at those with the ability to cause harm. For example, in both Florida and Georgia, it’s up to pedestrians to make sure they can be seen by drivers.

Cutrufo has a good roundup of how different agencies performed: Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina and New York state DOTs, and the Federal Highway Administration get the worst marks, while Missouri, Texas, Illinois and Louisiana DOTs get points for placing responsibility on motor vehicle operators.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Seattle Transit Blog says the city should tear down a sports arena in the Queen Anne neighborhood and replace it with housing. The Urbanist offers tips on how to engage with your NIMBY relatives. And Bike Portland reports that in response to the death of a cyclist, local advocates are planning a protest ride to take over a traffic lane on a key bridge.

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