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Pedestrian Deaths Continue Rising Across Los Angeles

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Pedestrian deaths across Los Angeles are rising. Reporting from both the L.A. Daily News and the Long Beach Press-Telegram underscores the trend of increasingly deadly roads for pedestrians since 2011 around Los Angeles County.

In the Valley, traffic collisions between vehicles and pedestrians increased 25 percent between 2011 and 2015. In 2011 there were 714 tabulated collisions, contrasted to 884 in 2015. The Valley sees an average of 28 collisions resulting in a person's death annually, as well as an extra 81 where a person walking is severely injured.

For example, four pedestrians were killed by cars on Valley streets in April. A mother and daughter out walking their dog were struck and killed by an SUV in West Hills on April 11th. Less than three weeks later, a 63-year-old woman was killed on the sidewalk while she walked with her family, according to the Daily News. Three of her grandchildren were injured in the collision as well.

Earlier in the month, a 20-year old was killed in Sylmar by a car that ran a red light and was supposedly speeding, according to LAPD.

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In Long Beach collisions were rising similarly, up for the third consecutive year in 2015. Like the Valley, Long Beach has had a 25 percent increase since 2011. In 2015, 356 pedestrians were involved in tabulated collisions, and statistics from the Long Beach Police department reflect a jump from six pedestrian deaths in 2014 to 13 in 2015.

Across the entire city of Los Angeles, pedestrians were hit by cars at a 35 percent higher rate in 2015 than they were in 2011. In 2014, 284 people were killed vehicles while walking across all of Los Angeles County.

We've known for a while about how dangerous Los Angeles' cityscape can be for pedestrians. It doesn't require a degree in urban planning to look at our roads and figure that it's not always the safest idea to have people walking very close to and often crossing high-speed thoroughfares.

"Twenty-seven, 28 and 29 (pedestrian deaths in the Valley) is too many" LAPD Valley Traffic Division Detective William Bustos said to the Daily News. "Our goal is to have zero."

Los Angeles has pledged to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2025 as a part of the Vision Zero initiative, and as a component of the city's updated transportation plan dubbed Mobility Plan 2035. By slowing traffic, improving pedestrian visibility and infrastructure, the city hopes to reduce the number of all transportation related deaths dramatically.

As to why the traffic deaths are increasing, Bustos explained that there are more cars on the road than there were in 2011. This is a result of greater employment across the region, as well as population growth.

Please be vigilant. The best way to prevent traffic deaths both as a driver and a pedestrian is to pay attention to your surroundings, and be prepared to jump out of the way if something is about to go wrong. You should also probably put down that smartphone too, especially if you're behind the wheel or crossing the street.