Pedestrian Danger In Tyler Second Highest In State

Pity the poor foot traffic in Tyler. With more and more cars on the road, it's becoming more difficult to walk where you're going.

A new traffic survey by the Surface Transportation Policy Project has ranked Tyler as the second worst place for pedestrian traffic in Texas. The survey found Smith County to have pedestrians involved with 8.6% of all traffic fatalities in 2000-2001. The Longview-Marshall area was third in the survey.

With so much traffic rushing from place to place, the rules have seemingly changed. Stop signs and red lights don't seem to mean stop anymore. And that means green lights and walk signs don't necessarily mean go, either. New Tyler resident Brian Gailey has noticed drivers pushing the envelope at stop lights.

"They don't really stop at the yellow lights," he says. "They keep going until three or four cars have passed through the red, so you're taking your life in your hands if you're crossing on a green."

One walker pointed to a simple problem for pedestrians.

"We don't have efficient sidewalks," Tyler resident Emilie Calodney said. "A lot of cities, there's a lot of sidewalks and a lot of children. Children on bikes can use those sidewalks, and we don't have that here."

Without sidewalks, walkers are left at the mercy of "Walk/Don't Walk" signs to cross busy intersections. One walker, Tony Batt, who was visiting Tyler from his native England, waited for quite a while at the intersection of Bullard and Rice roads before giving up.

"I was there for a good five minutes," he says after pushing the "Walk" button. "I didn't think it was going to work, so I decided to take my risk and jog across the road."

Reid Kerr reporting.