CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The Charleston metropolitan area is one of the deadliest places in the United States for pedestrians, according to a new report.
The report by Smart Growth America examined pedestrian fatality rates over the last five years, finding that the number of walkers struck and killed by cars reached an all-time high in 2020.
Between 2016 and 2020, the Charleston-North Charleston area saw 140 pedestrian deaths, a fatality rate of 3.54 per 100,000 population. That landed the area in the fifth spot on the report’s list of the 20 most dangerous metropolitan areas.
Two other South Carolina cities landed in the top 20 with Columbia in the sixteenth position and Greenville-Anderson in the seventeenth position at a fatality rate of 3.00 and 2.97, respectively.
Three cities ranking near the top of the pack reflect a rising trend in post-pandemic America: more people are choosing to walk rather than drive.
The Charleston metro area saw 56 percent more walking trips in 2020 than in 2019. In Columbia, the average is up 69 percent, and in Greenville, it is up 79 percent.
The result is a 72 percent increase in walking trips statewide, an increase noticeably contributing to higher fatality rates. During the five-year stretch studied, South Carolina had a 3.19 per 100,000 population fatality rate or about 800 deaths.
That figure situates South Carolina as the third deadliest state for pedestrians in the U.S., preceded by New Mexico in the top position and Florida in the second position.
Despite fewer cars on the road than before the pandemic, the report found that more than 6,500 people were struck and killed while walking in 2020 across the United States, a roughly 4.7 percent increase from the previous year. That is an average of nearly 18 people per day.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation recently named Charleston County’s top 5 highest pedestrian-crash corridors from 2015-2019:
- Calhoun Street from Courtenay Drive to Meeting Street (48 pedestrian crashes)
- King Street from Carolina Street to George Street (36)
- Meeting Street from Line Street to Society Street (28)
- Rivers Avenue from Verde Avenue to Reynolds Avenue (28)
- Ashley Phosphate Road from Rivers Avenue to Rock Street (20)