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At Least 27 Pedestrian Deaths in SM Since '01

One of California's most walkable cities is also dangerous for pedestrians.

Santa Monica has been cheering a recent poll suggesting that it's . But there's another story to be told: A large number of pedestrian deaths and injuries regularly happen here.

A national advocacy group, Transportation for America, mapped out the pedestrian deaths that occurred in the country from 2000-09. More than 47,000 pedestrian deaths were recorded across the U.S., with 2,079 of them in Los Angeles County. The greater Los Angeles metropolitan area was ranked #27 in a list of the 52 most-dangerous areas for pedestrians nationwide.

The map, which can be viewed here, lists 24 pedestrian deaths as having occurred in Santa Monica during that 10-year period. The majority of the victims were elderly, but the list also includes people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.

The fatalities are as follows:

• 800 block of Pacific Coast Highway: 44-year-old woman killed on Sept. 24, 2008

• Montana Ave., between 16th St. and 17th St.: 83-year-old man killed on July 19, 2002

• Idaho Ave. and Fourth St.: 90-year-old man killed on May 2, 2007

• California Ave. and 10th St.: 85-year-old man killed on Nov. 13, 2002

• California Ave. and 18th St.: 82-year-old man killed on Dec. 15, 2009

• Wilshire Blvd. and Berkeley St.: 91-year-old woman killed on Oct. 6, 2007

• Arizona Ave. and Fourth St.: 78-year-old man killed on July 16, 2003

• Santa Monica Blvd. and Second St.: 48-year-old man killed on July 1, 2001

• Santa Monica Blvd. and Euclid St.: 80-year-old man killed on Jan. 24, 2007

• Broadway Ave. and Ocean Ave.: 70-year-old man killed on July 30, 2002

• Colorado Ave. and Second St.: 40-year-old woman killed on Mar. 7, 2007

• Colorado Ave. and 16th St.: 79-year-old woman killed on Dec. 1, 2007

• Olympic Blvd. and Fifth St.: 50-year-old woman killed on Sept. 9, 2006

• Olympic Blvd. and 16th St.: 33-year-old man killed on Dec. 31, / 2004

• Olympic Dr. and Fourth St.: 40-year-old man killed on Dec. 20, 2002

• Michigan Ave. and 10th St.: 84-year-old woman killed on May 14, 2008

• Seaview Terrace and Ocean Ave.: 24-year-old woman killed on July 6, 2001

• Pico Blvd. and Neilson Way: 47-year-old woman killed on Apr. 29, 2005

• Pico Blvd. and Fourth St.: 65-year-old woman killed on Feb. 11, 2005

• Pico Blvd. and 14th St.: 86-year-old woman killed on May 30, 2001

• Grant St. and Lincoln Blvd.: 40-year-old man killed on July 31, 2001

• Pearl St. and 11th St.: 56-year-old woman killed on May 27, 2009

• Ocean Park Blvd. and Lincoln Blvd.: 60-year-old man killed on May 21, 2008

• Ocean Park Blvd. and 25th St.: 68-year-old man killed on Sept. 21, 2006

(View the map on the right for a layout of where the deaths occurred.)

The list doesn't include the more recent deaths of pedestrians at Wilshire Blvd. and Chelsea (24-year-old woman killed on June 18, 2011); Ocean Ave. and Arizona Ave. (66-year-old man killed on Feb. 15, 2011); and Wilshire and 10th (66-year-old man killed on Dec. 23, 2010).

The list also doesn't include the .

The full Transportation for America report notes that 12 percent of total traffic accidents involve pedestrians and suggests that the main cause of pedestrian deaths are roads that are poorly designed for pedestrian safety.

It makes a number of recommendations on how to fix the problem, including expansion of sidewalks, trails, and bike lanes, as well as prioritizing walkers and de-prioritizing the speed of traffic in designing side streets and connector roads.

Which intersections and roads do you feel are most unsafe for pedestrians in Santa Monica? .

Correction: Montana Ave. and the Pacific Coast Highway do not intersect.

Marilyn Belknap August 05, 2011 at 06:54 PM
Maybe if people would stop thinking they always have the right of way and start following pedestrian rules, these fatalities wouldn't be so high!!
Anon O'Moose August 06, 2011 at 12:35 AM
There was also an 80 year old woman who was killed July 17 on Pico and 26th. http://www.smmirror.com/?ajax#mode=single&view=32504
al August 06, 2011 at 03:36 AM
Marilyn, Do you walk in Santa Monica? Try walking 3 miles, 4 days a week between 7:30 and 9:30 AM and you will be shocked at how many people run stop signs and pay no attention to cross walks and even crossing guards.
Claudia Schafer August 06, 2011 at 02:06 PM
Amen to that, Al! It's shocking in how frequently it happens, and disgusting to see the looks of attitude and entitlement on their faces while they speed through as if they are above the law.
Maria Fotopoulos August 07, 2011 at 08:32 PM
I don't know what the "Walk Score" criteria are, but I suspect they don't factor in the pedestrian death toll. If pedestrian deaths were factored in, I'd suspect Santa Monica would rank rather low. Any walkability rating should also factor in the overall -- for lack of better words -- mood, ambiance and meshing of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Again, I think Santa Monica would rank low if this were factored in. I am a very defensive walker in Santa Monica and West L.A., because drivers are some of the worst in the country. A 2010 GMAC Insurance survey ranked California as having the worst drivers (behind New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia). Clearly, drivers have a huge impact on pedestrians. Given the number of deaths and the high hostility on the roads here (driven indeed by the sense of "entitlement" mentioned in another post), I think Mayor Bloom should be embarrassed to be touting a faux accolade.
Gary Kavanagh August 08, 2011 at 09:13 PM
"Walk Score" is still a fairly recent tool in looking at cities across the country, and currently it measures walkability using mostly metrics based on distances between homes and local shopping, services, schools and public transit connections. Santa Monica indeed is quite well laid out in that sense for walking, and that is I think a large part of why so many people do walk here. However at this time, crash statistics and other safety concerns are not part of calculations, and I'm sure securing and standardizing that information from such a large number of agencies across the country is quite an undertaking. However getting a full picture will require looking at more data such as public safety information.
Claudia Schafer August 09, 2011 at 04:21 AM
Many of us are familiar with the old saying that history is written by the victors. Likewise, polls are frequently underwritten by those who seek to benefit by the results. I sincerely doubt that the folks funding Walk Score would want to factor in any unflattering statistics such as those involving pedestrian deaths. Call me cynical, but any stat touted by a politician should be viewed with a healthy dose of circumspection to say the least. However - regardless of polls, statistics, and spin doctoring - we can (and should) exert pressure on the City of Santa Monica to actively enforce systems (such as stop signs) that are already in place so that the definition of "walkability" in our town is inclusive of public safety issues.
Paul Dunn August 09, 2011 at 03:53 PM
Montana Ave does not intersect PCH.
Kurt Orzeck August 09, 2011 at 05:31 PM
Hi Paul, thanks for your comment. You're right, and as an eight-year resident of this city, I should have clarified that in the article. The incident occurred near the 800 block of PCH. Best, Kurt
Pablo Mondal July 18, 2012 at 07:59 PM
sadly, one more to add to the list as of today... here's the link to the most recent death: http://www.smdp.com/Articles-local-news-c-2012-07-17-74396.113116-Woman-killed-in-hitandrun.html
Karen Lynn Palermo August 23, 2012 at 07:18 AM
we need to make a move to do something! what is happening to our city..and now monday night! sickened by the pier
Monica Bey August 23, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Karen - I absolutely agree. What a tragedy. You take your family on vacation and certainly don't expect to end up dead in a crosswalk. That poor family. I hope the SMCV is doing something for them. I was particularly troubled by some of the responses I saw to the story. It seemed like there was a lot of blame assigned to the pedestrian. Yes, pedestrians should abide by the traffic lights and signage, but, if they don't, that doesn't let the driver off the hook. The Downtown Santa Monica area has a tremendous amount of foot traffic, and drivers must be super aware -- pedestrians may be entering the roads from anywhere, including mid-section of a block. I say this practically everyday when I drive on the roads in Santa Monica and West L.A. -- when you step into a crosswalk here, you're risking your life. (see additional post)
Monica Bey August 23, 2012 at 07:09 PM
(continuation of post, part II) There is a huge, and I think indefensible, lack of police presence on the streets in Santa Monica and West L.A. Stopping people for traffic violations is a huge deterrent. I bet in 20 years in this part of town I could count the number of times I've seen police writing tickets on my hands (well, maybe on my hands x2). Police need to be enforcing posted speed limits and writing tickets for violators -- there certainly are enough of them.
Monica Bey August 23, 2012 at 07:10 PM
(continuation of post, part III) Additionally, Santa Monica needs to be paying more attention to potential problem areas, assessing the risk and looking at mitigating measures. The public parking structures in Downtown Santa Monica are one area. Cars are exiting where pedestrians are walking on the sidewalk, and, while there are mirrors there, there should be signage to watch for pedestrians. As well, drivers can make left turns out of structures, which means they're crossing several lanes of traffic which poses problems when 2nd and 4th streets are super busy. As well, the City installed digitized screens in a large vertical structure to alert parkers as to how many spaces are available in the public garages. Where those units are installed significantly hinders visibility for drivers leaving the parking garages.
Monica Bey August 23, 2012 at 07:11 PM
(continuation of post, part IV) Additionally, recently I was at the intersection of Wilshire and Ocean in my car (the SE corner) on a Saturday night around 10 p.m. It's not very well-lit there, and a woman had stepped into the street there, close to the crosswalk, but not in the crosswalk. I had not been drinking, but did not see her right away. The light had turned red, so I had approached the intersection rather slowly (again, it's dark there). I rolled down my passenger window and suggested that it wasn't a good idea to be standing in the street. I quickly figured out she was intoxicated and waiting for a cab. The point is, again, pedestrians can be idiots, but drivers have to watch out for them. Second point, that's another area that Santa Monica should look at for mitigating traffic measures. Obviously, with the hotels along Ocean, there will be a lot of visitors not familiar with the area. And finally, I remain concerned about traffic mitigation at Third Street Promenade. On weekends in particular the intersection at 3rd and Santa Monica Boulevard overflows with people. The Promenade is billed as pedestrian only, but it truly isn't when you consider that east-west vehicular traffic is on Arizona, Santa Monica Boulevard and Broadway. It seems there should be some consideration to closing off Santa Monica Blvd. between 2nd and 4th streets. My two cents if anyone in the City is reading this!

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