SCTPO helps educate seniors on walking safety


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Seniors participate in a walking safety event in Melbourne.

VIERA VOICE Courtesy of SCTPO

If you thought it was safe to walk along the streets of Brevard County, think again.

According to the 2019 Dangerous By Design report released by Smart Growth America, the Melbourne-Palm Bay-Titusville area is ranked as the third-most dangerous metro area in the nation for walking.

The report ranks states and metropolitan areas around the country using the Pedestrian Danger Index or PDI.

This index measures how deadly it is for people to walk based on the number of people struck and killed by drivers while walking, controlling for the number of people that live in that state or metro area and the share of people who walk to work.

The 2019 edition of Dangerous By Design includes traffic deaths that occurred between 2008 and 2017 from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a national database of all fatal traffic crashes.

The Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization (SCTPO) was created by federal law to review and administer all policies and procedures applicable for state and federal transportation funding. And thanks to Brevard’s fatality ranking, one of the agency’s other goals is to educate and help seniors walk and bike safely throughout the county.

According to the agency’s website — sctpo.com — the SCTPO provides transportation planning services for the Palm Bay, Melbourne and Titusville areas as designated by the U.S. Census Bureau. The SCTPO also coordinates transportation plans for the area’s local jurisdictions and transportation authorities including:

• Brevard County Board of County Commissioners

• Brevard County Demographic Profile (Florida’s 10th most populous county with 2.8 percent of Florida’s population)

• Sixteen cities and towns — Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Grant-Valkaria, Indialantic, Indian Harbour Beach, Malabar, Melbourne, Melbourne Beach, Melbourne Village, Palm Bay, Palm Shores, Rockledge, Satellite Beach, Titusville and West Melbourne

• Two airports — Orlando Melbourne International Airport and Space Coast Regional Airport (formerly known as Ti-Co Airport)

• One seaport — Port Canaveral

One spaceport — Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station)

Transportation planners collect and analyze data from state and local agencies and municipalities and perform traffic modeling to determine transportation patterns and needs.

The responsibility of the SCTPO is to manage a continuing, cooperative and comprehensive planning process, resulting in the development of transportation plans and programs that improve quality of life and add to the economic viability and safety of the community. Public input is sought throughout the planning process at public meetings and workshops.

The SCTPO also provides a forum for cooperative decision making by officials of the affected governmental entities with input from citizens and constituency groups. These plans serve as the framework for making transportation investment decisions in Brevard.

Abby Hemenway, the public involvement officer for the SCTPO, said the report shows that Brevard County streets are not getting safer for everyone, especially for senior citizens.

“We must all do our part as road users to increase the safety of our transportation network,” Hemenway said. “That’s why one of the goals of the SCTPO is to educate seniors on walking and bicycle safety.”

For example, under the Education heading of the SCPTO website, is a list of resources on walking and bicycle safety for seniors. Some of the resources include: “11 Steps to Safer Walking and Riding,” “Bicycle/Pedestrian Laws” and “Rules of the Road for Riding Safely.”

Hemenway also said the SCTPO works in conjunction with the Safe Mobility for Life Coalition in offering educational workshops, events and tips to help senior Floridians continue to meet their personal mobility needs to remain safe, independent and active in their communities as an aging road user.

According to the website safemobilityfl.com, all of the information you need to improve the safety, access and mobility for Florida's aging road users is listed. Guide books are available to download and print.

“All of our services are free of charge,” Hemenway said. “We want the public to be our best advocate because it takes a village to combat this alarming number of fatalities in our county.” VV