Milwaukee has 41% of Pedestrians Killed This Year

Milwaukee Police and Alderman Donovan were present at the crosswalk demonstration.

On Wednesday April 26th, MilWALKee Walks hosted a crosswalk safety event at the intersection of W Mitchell Ave and 35th Street. The purpose of the event was to remind people in cars to yield to those in crosswalks. The location was chosen in honor of Israel Soto-Colon, the 62 year old man who was killed by a speeding driver while crossing the street there on April 18th.

He was one of 7 people in Milwaukee that have been killed while walking across the street this year. At this time last year there were only 4 deaths. So far this year, Milwaukee has 41% of pedestrian crashes in the state and only 10.4% percent of the population (7/17 total). People of color in Wisconsin are almost twice as likely to be a victim of a crash while crossing the street, the 10th highest disparity in the United States. The failure of people driving to yield to those walking is a major contributor: “28% [of pedestrian fatalities in Wisconsin between 2011-2013] involved a driver not yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.”

Walking is the one mode of transportation we all have to use on every trip. People driving must do a better job watching for pedestrians, yielding to them, and avoiding distractions.

Many partners joined MilWalkee Walks in the crosswalk demonstration  including: 16th Street Health Centers, Hupy & Abraham Law Firm, Escuela Verde students, Disability Rights Wisconsin, and concerned citizens.  Urban Milwaukee has written about the story here and Streetsblog here.

MilWalkee Walks and the Path to Platinum Committee also co-released Bike and Walk Reports for each Alder District in Milwaukee to help provide a road map to improving safety for walking and biking.  The reports are based on years of community feedback, funded projects backlogs, and input from community partners and are living documents.

Aldermanic District Waking Reports (Click on the District to read the report, the name to see the Aldermanic district)

What Can You Do?

  • Provide your own feedback on the Walk Bike Reports in the comments below or in person: MilWALKee Walks, Path to Platinum and Wisconsin Bike Fed are co-hosting a meeting to get citizen feedback on the reports and plan meetings with Alders on Thursday May 31st in the Community Room at Villard Square Library from 5:30-7:30 with food provided. RSVP here.
  • Understand the Law: People driving must follow the speed limit and look for and yield to people crossing the street. In Wisconsin, people walking in marked and unmarked crosswalks have the right of way.
  • Ask your Alder to support and increase funding for pedestrian safety improvements.
  • Visit ShareAndBeAware.org for safety tips and free classes
What is Being Done?

  • The City of Milwaukee is doing Safe Routes to School Plans at 20 MPS schools to address biking and walking safety issues, will be doing outreach for the Pedestrian Plan later this year, and just established a pedestrian safety improvement fund.
  • The Milwaukee Police will receive an enforcement grant to ticket people driving who fail to yield.
  • Milwaukee Public Schools has a Safe Routes to School education program that has educated 20,000 students since it’s inception.
  • The MiWALKee Walks coalition is working increase the safety of all people walking and make it easier to cross the street.

The MiWALKee Walks coalition is working increase the safety of all people walking and make it easier to cross the street. In Wisconsin, drivers must yield the right of way to people walking in marked and unmarked crosswalks.

MilWALKee Walks members include: 16th St. Community Health Centers, Hupy and Abraham Law Firm, Wisconsin Bike Fed: Share & Be Aware, Professor Bob Schneider PhD, Milwaukee County Transit Authority, Professor Ann Basting PhD, Milwaukee Safe Routes to School, and many citizens.

You can get a FREE Hupy and Abraham, S.C. “Yield to Pedestrians” bumper sticker here, or contact Jessica Wineberg, MilWALKee Walks’ Program Director at Jessica@wisconsinbikefed.org to get involved.

Failure to yield to people in crosswalks is a significant cause of crashes and fatalities. Note, the extension of one sidewalk to another is still a crosswalk, even if there are no pavement markings.

About Jessica Wineberg, Deputy Director

The second staff member hired for the Milwaukee office 13 years ago, Jessica started our Safe Routes to School and adult bicyclist and motorist education and is now focusing on passing and implementing an equitable Complete Streets Policy in Milwaukee. Jessica lives in the Riverwest neighborhood with her son Everett.

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