Nevada, Miami, and St. Louis Take Steps Backward on Pedestrian Policy

From around the Streetsblog Network today, here are a few developments affecting the walking environment in cities from Miami to Las Vegas. The news, unfortunately, is mostly bad.

Nevada, hardly a haven for pedestrians, is cracking down on texting and walking. Image: #123rf.com

Nevada Cracks Down on Texting and Walking: Nevada’s best known street — the Las Vegas strip — might be the ultimate case study in how road design can inhibit walking. Now Nevada is considering a new law to match this pedestrian environment. Cyclelicio.us reports that a new bill has been introduced to make it illegal to text while crossing the street, another example of cracking down on walking in a misguided attempt to address the safety problems caused by poor engineering.

On the bright side, Richard Masoner reports that Nevada is also looking at a $2 vehicle registration fee that will go to a fund to support complete streets projects. One step forward…

The Devolution of a Downtown St. Louis Development: Alex Ihnen at Network blog Next STL takes a hard look at the wreckage of a once-promising downtown development.

Ballpark Village — a development proposed for the immediate vicinity of the Cardinals stadium — started out splendidly. Developers proposed turning a giant urban superblock into six blocks, restoring the street grid and creating a walkable development. Unfortunately, Ihnen points out, that was many iterations of the project ago. Revision by revision, this walkable plan was reduced to a maze of surface parking. Now only a trace of the hoped-for street grid remains and 710 parking spaces have taken the place of dense development. Sigh. You can see it go from great to godawful on Next STL.

Miami's "worst urban street" is getting repaved, but will see few other improvements. Image: Transit Miami

Florida DOT Continues to Build Pedestrian Deathtraps in Miami: “most dangerous road in Miami” is undergoing resurfacing — a great opportunity for the state of Florida to make up for its old traffic engineering sins, as officials recently vowed. But according to Felipe Azenha at Transit Miami, the Florida Department of Transportation has chosen not to seize this opportunity to make the city safer. “It looks like very little will be done to improve safety for pedestrians along this poorly designed street,” Azenha said. “The eastbound lanes have a design speed of 45mph+ through the heart of the city. This is unconscionable and downright irresponsible of the FDOT.”

The only improvement that can be construed as pedestrian-friendly is the addition of five new crosswalks. Azenha says this is unacceptable to the people of Miami, but FDOT doesn’t seem to be listening.