The city of Orange Beach, Alabama is beginning to plan “quality of life” initiatives in addition to traffic improvements. According to AL along with environmental and trail system projects, the city is looking to improve sidewalks and create a trolley system.
Orange Beach expects to put $3 million dollars into projects that will create more pedestrian paths and improve existing ones. Sidewalks slated for improvement include the William Silvers Parkway, Lauder Lane, and portions of Ala. 161, Gulf Bay Road and Oak Ridge Drive.
Mayor Tony Kennon told the news website AL.com, “We’re going to look at landscaped medians on Perdido Beach Boulevard if the state will work with us,” since these serve as “islands of safety” for pedestrians.
Four pedestrians have been killed on the highway in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach recently. One of the most recent, according to AL.com, is an unidentified 49-year-old woman from Magee, Mississippi. The driver who hit her was had not been drinking and was not under the influence of any drugs. He was not arrested.
The deceased appears to have simply stepped out into the road and either did not see the oncoming car, or misjudged the time she had to cross the street.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in the United States about 60,000 pedestrians were injured in just one year.
According to The Huffington Post, the National Complete Streets Coalition’s 2014 report, which analyzed traffic fatality data over the last decade, ranks an Alabama city as the sixth most dangerous city to walk in. The National Complete Streets Coalition believes that areas that experience a high rate of pedestrian fatalities also have poor roadway designs that do not accommodate walkers.
The good news is that Orange Beach’s new plans create more alternative walkways and paths for citizens and visitors. As Mayor Kennon told AL, “We’re going to evaluate a trolley system of some type on the beach.”
The goal, according to Kennon, is to help people get around without being in a car, but this also creates an alternative to walking, which on these Orange Beach roads could be very dangerous.