Los Angeles has a much higher than average pedestrian fatality rate, according to a University of Michigan study [PDF], and an epidemic of hit-and-run collisions, as a recent LA Weekly exposé unveiled. As the city puts "more walkers and more vehicles into closer proximity" through increased density, and seeks to increase the amount of non-vehicular trips, Waldie argues that it's time for the city to take steps to improve pedestrian safety. His solutions include: using data to determine the most dangerous places for pedestrians, vigorously prosecuting hit-and-run drivers, investing more in pedestrian infrastructure, making pedestrian safety a more central focus of community safety, and improving crosswalks and intersection signaling and lighting.
"But real safety for pedestrians will have to come from drivers themselves," he concludes. "There is a callousness built into the design of modern vehicles - so perfectly do they respond to every desire in traffic-jammed Los Angeles except the desire for freedom. It's a terrible contradiction for drivers in L.A. to have everything a car can give except mobility."
"I can sometimes see the frustration in a driver's face (despite my weak eyes) when he swings into an intersection, aiming his comfortable weapon where I walk. I wonder if he sees me at all."