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Letter: Streets still not safe for elderly

Published May 20, 2014 4:46 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

AARP Utah thanks Tribune reporter Mike Gorrell for his excellent article ("For pedestrians, Utah's streets are safer than most," May 20) but Utah's work toward pedestrian safety needs to keep improving.

According to the report issued by the National Complete Streets Coalition, of which AARP is a member, Utah finished a dismal eighth out of 50 states and the District of Columbia for pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people 65 and over in a 10-year period. Although this population comprises just 8.8 percent of Utah's population, adults 65 and over comprised 20.3 percent of pedestrian fatalities from 2003-2010.

With the baby boomers growing older, people over 65 can expect to double by 2030. Most deadly pedestrian accidents occur where speed limits are over 40 mph, yet Utah has increased speed limits just this year.

What can be done? Though Utah has taken steps to improve pedestrian safety by endorsing national transportation safety guidelines, the state should continue to look at increasing the number of wide sidewalks, curb extensions, midblock crossings, and refuge islands. Roads need to be planned for pedestrian safety if Utah is to move from the middle of the pack.

Laura Polacheck

Salt Lake City




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