Walking for Safety, Change, and Accessibility in Our City

In Miami, when you step out onto the street and into a crosswalk, you may feel your life flash before your eyes as a car barely misses you.

We live in one of the most beautiful climates in the world, ideal for walking, but Miami is ranked as the 4th most dangerous city in the U.S. for pedestrians and the state has the 3rd highest rate of pedestrian deaths. These deaths (as well as injuries) are far too common, while respect for pedestrians is far too uncommon. One way to start changing the culture of Miami to one that respects multiple ways of navigating our city, including by walking, is to educate each other in our respective communities and build visibility for pedestrian’s rights.

The way we began tackling this some years ago was working with friends to organize pedestrian safety walks that educate drivers and pedestrians on pedestrian rights and driver responsibilities, as well as demonstrate how challenging legally attempting to cross the street can be. The concept of these walks is simple, during the time that pedestrians are legally allowed to enter the crosswalk, people with educational signs and statistics about pedestrians injuries and fatalities walk back and forth through the crosswalk. We hand educational materials to drivers and pedestrians.

Over the past few years, with Emerge Miami, we have organized several of these walks, but we also began to recognize a need to think about this issue in a sustainable way. This translated into the idea that we could train other people interested in making their communities safer in how to do pedestrian safety walks and work with their local government on this issue. And that is the project we hope to bring to fruition through the Emerging City Champions Challenge - with this grant, we will put together a training video, training materials, and also go into different Miami communities, where there is interest, to conduct trainings on putting together pedestrian safety walks. We will also offer continual support to people organizing on the issue of walkability and safety.

A Bit About Us

Elsa recently graduated with an MS in Rhetoric and Technical Communication, and focused her thesis on women’s access to public space by looking at female cyclists in Miami. She has been working on transportation and access issues since she moved to Miami in 2010.

Adam is a Masters of Public Administration from Florida International University and a high school English teacher. When not on campus, he is a community advocate, journalist, and avid cyclist promoting alternative transportation. He is a core organizer with Emerge Miami, a collaborative