TULSA, Okla. — Auto pedestrian and bicycle crashes are happening more and more often so one Tulsa group is looking to prevent that by making the city safer.
Today kicked off the first walk audit of a year-long program where experts walk through areas with high crash numbers to determine what needs to change to make the area safer.
A walk audit consists of community members, neighborhood associations, businesses, and city councilors walking an area using a checklist to identify issues that make walking, bicycling, and using public transportation unsafe.
The first location was on 11th and Garnett.
“We see this as an opportunity to look at what’s happening in that area. You know, are there driver behavior pedestrian behaviors that we need to look at?” said Mitch Drummond, chair of Tulsa bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee.
In the walk audit on Thursday, people walking down 11th and under the freeway pass are forced to walk on the street since there are no sidewalks.
That is just one example of how the area can be improved.
There are two important factors to consider when doing a walk audit. First is the number of traffic fatalities.
“Based on information we are getting from the Tulsa Police Department, I believe so far in 2021 we’ve had at least 65 traffic-related fatalities and 25 of those were pedestrians," Drummond said. "That’s at least double what are our fatality rate was in 2019.”
The second is helping to improve the community around these areas.
“It improves health opportunities if people feel safe walking. That’s going to improve health outcomes. People walking together will actually build a stronger sense of community,” Drummond said.
Improvements to an area can include changing the speed limit, adjusting the traffic signal timing, and adding bike lanes among other possible changes.
The group is planning ten walk audits over the next year targeting the most dangerous areas.
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