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The Sacramento steets with no sidewalks are a nightmare for many pedestrians

Sacramento, particularly the Arden-Arcade area is dangerous for pedestrians because of the lack of sidewalks where people who walk to shopping have to walk in the curb, which is usually filthy or wet, and compete with bikers, skateboarders, scooter riders, and people on roller skates as well as cars swerving to avoid kids on bikes trying to turn a corner on heavily trafficked streets in the afternoons. You may wish to see the articles, "California has the Most Dangerous Cities in America for Pedestrians" or "Study: Sacramento-Roseville Region Dangerous For Pedestrians." Or perhaps, you'd like to take look at ""Dangerous by Design 2014" [PDF] - Smart Growth America."

The Sacramento steets with no sidewalks are a nightmare for many pedestrians.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A typical example is a bus stop near the corner of Watt and Marconi Avenues. An elderly person steps off the bus just as a youth on a bicycle riding on the sidewalk instead of in a bike lane, speeds by, not even thinking to stop as the bus door opens, and narrowly misses the elderly woman stepping onto the sidewalk from the bus. There's no time to observe the bus stopping and get off the bike on the sidewalk before it crashes into the pedestrian who is looking straight ahead. The bike stops suddenly, only inches away from the lady stepping down on the sidewalk as she leaves the bus. Seems no one observes there's a bus stop ahead...the cyclist keeps riding having missed the pedestrian by what feels like an inch.

Or a pedestrian walks along Watt Avenue's narrow sidewalks as a young woman on a bike tailgates her. As the wind begins to blow the woman's hat off, and the elderly pedestrian puts her hand on her head to keep her hat on during a winter afternoon, the young lady on the bike tailgating the older woman doesn't make a sound but crashes into the elderly woman's elbow and then speeds away into the nearby parking lot, not stopping to see whether the woman was injured or trying to help.

The woman looks up in surprise as the cyclist speeds away through the parking lot with a feeble, "excuse me," but no warning she had tailgated the older woman on the narrow sidewalk. Such scenes are common in Arden Arcade where youth on bikes and other wheels ride on sidewalks, where seniors have to jump into the grass to get out of the biker's or skateboarder's way. Crossing the street is another problem with which to deal when you are old, walk slow, and have to get to the store to buy your food.

It's a nightmare for older adults who have no other choice but to walk the few blocks to a supermarket, to those who are visually impaired or in wheelchairs. To make it worse, bikers, usually young males ride on the narrow sidewalks to compete with elderly, slow-moving pedestrians and those with disabilities trying to get to their destination on the narrow sidewalks.

You might wish to check out the articles, "Dangerous by Design: Pedestrian danger index," or "Dangerous by Design 2014" [PDF] - Smart Growth America." On May 24, 2014 Transportation For America released their report on the state of pedestrian safety in the US. Providence achieved the dubious distinction of being the 4th-most dangerous metro in the northeast for pedestrians. The Boston metro was ranked as the most safe (or least dangerous, depending on how you look at it) in the country. Sacramento-Arden Arcade-Roseville areas are listed as number 23 of the most dangerous to walk (for pedestrians). You may wish to look at the article, "Most dangerous cities for pedestrians in America."

Sacramento isn't the worst, Orlando, Florida is the worst for pedestrians, according to the Pedestrian Danger Index. But for those living in Sacramento who must walk, the lack of sidewalks in places such as Arden Arcade and other similar areas is tough when you're forced to take a bus to reach a food market a few blocks away or when the bus comes only once an hour and never on weekends when you have to carry groceries in a personal utility cart. On top of the inconvenience of pedestrians, there's the howls and hostile name calling and labeling of people walking to grocery shopping with those personal utility carts, as if everyone is a homeless 'bag' lady who uses a personal cart to push the grocery bags home.

In addition, you find not so friendly bus drivers from time to time who refuse to use the kneeling ramp when there's no way you can lift your shopping cart because you're elderly or have an invisible disability, not to say that all of them have that attitude of impatience. But if you prefer to walk to avoid burdening people with your groceries, you'll find few sidewalks, and walking alongside the curb is dirty, where you're tailgated by people on wheels--bikers, skateboarders, scooter riders, and other wheeled devices.

In back of the bikers on sidewalks are youth on skateboards who don't stop when they see a visually impaired older person walking. They tailgate the person or often push the senior off the sidewalk onto the grass instead of using the bike lane. On top of that situation are the wheelchairs that tailgate pedestrians at the curb without warning them a wheelchair is about to move forward, so the pedestrian has no warning such as a beep or other sound to alert them that there's a wheelchair coming at them from behind at the curb competing with the pedestrian to cross the street before the light changes.

For visually and hearing impaired seniors, it's a nightmare whether they're walking, using a walker or cane, or just trying to walk home. For nondrivers, it's frightening to be in the middle of a wide street when a racing bicycle is coming right at the senior walking slowly across the street without any chance of slowing down as the senior reaches the center of the street. In spite of the walk sign, the green light, the bike bears down on the older, slow-moving person who in the last minute has to leap out of the way of the racing bicycle manned by a youth.

This scenario has repeatedly happened at the 29th and R street light rail stop or within a few blocks as seniors try to make their way to the food market from various bus or light rail stops. The danger is when crossing the street. Next is the lack of sidewalks in Arden Arcade as elderly shoppers with their personal utility carts have to walk in the curb between Watt Avenue and Fulton Avenue, long Marconi Avenue where there are no sidewalks for a long stretch of sidewalk beside luxury homes and no way to walk beside the golf course because of no sidewalk and fast-moving heavy traffic. Just to get to the Town and Country Shopping centers, you see older people and other nondrivers trying to walk along the curb between shopping areas.

Often at the same time there's someone blowing dust into the air along the curb with a mower or other impediments during daylight hours when pedestrians are trying to get to the shopping area. The alternative is taking the bus two stops which costs several dollars each way or a $50 a month bus pass for seniors ($40 for those over age 75) to navigate the few blocks along the golf course or across the street along luxury homes with few or no sidewalks. Arden Arcade is dangerous for pedestrians. The bare fact is some people have no other choice. They must walk to shopping.

The Sacramento region is among the 25 most-dangerous places to walk among U.S. metropolitan areas, according to an urban design organization, says a May 23, 2014 Sacramento Bee news article by Bill Lindelof, "Sacramento ranked among 25 most-dangerous cities for pedestrians." You also can check out the The New York Times news article, "The Most Dangerous Cities for Walking."

The Sacramento-Arden Arcade-Roseville population areas came in at No. 23 in a “pedestrian danger index” from Smart Growth America. The region received a score of 81 in the ranking. That’s still much better than the worst region: Orlando-Kissimme, Fla., which earned an index score of 244. The group’s Smart Growth America report notes that although Americans are doing plenty of walking to get from place to place and to exercise, poor planning has resulted in cities that pose danger for pedestrians, says the Sacramento Bee article. Communities, especially those in the Sunbelt South, top the list of most dangerous communities. They grew in the post-World War II period and feature many low-density neighborhoods with wider streets and higher speeds. Also, you may wish to check out, "Report finds 1.2-million car crashes, 39,000 pedestrian crashes a year could be avoided with this technology."

The less dangerous regions tend to be more compactly developed and place more emphasis on pedestrian safety.

Top 25 most-dangerous metro areas in the U.S, ranked by Pedestrian Danger Index:

1. Orlando

2. Tampa

3. Jacksonville

4. Miami

5. Memphis

6. Birmingham, Ala.

7. Houston

8. Atlanta

9. Phoenix

10. Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N. C-S.C

11. Detroit

12. Dallas

13. Las Vegas

14. Riverside

15. Nashville

16. Raleigh-Cary N.C.

17. Louisville

18. San Antonio

19. Richmond, Va.

20. Oklahoma City

21. Kansas City, Mo.-Kan.

22. New Orleans

23. Sacramento-Arden Arcade-Roseville

24. Austin

25. Indianapolis

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