On Tuesday October 20th, Walk Bike Nashville co-hosted a speaker panel event with Vanderbilt University featuring two experts in the field of pedestrian safety, Angie Schmitt and Dr. Destiny Thomas. 

Angie Schmitt is the founder of 3MPH Planning and Consulting and the author of a new book called “Right of Way: Race, Class, and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Death in America”.  

Dr. Destiny Thomas is an anthropologist, urban planner, and founder of Thrivance Group, a firm that works to make public spaces and services more accessible to all by bolstering the voices of marginalized communities within the planning process.

Angie Schmitt’s presentation highlighted the lack of attention paid to pedestrian needs in road design, citing several infrastructural issues including a lack of street lighting, sidewalks, and crosswalks. Additional factors she found to contribute to the growing pedestrian fatality rate included the rise of larger SUV’s dominating the roads and the growing aging population in cities across the country.

Dr. Destiny Thomas built on this conversation by speaking about how pedestrian safety is a social justice issue that disproportionately impacts minority groups who are often left out of the conversation when municipal agencies plan urban spaces. She advocated for community centered planning processes that acknowledge past harms in order to move forward to solve pedestrian safety issues.  

For those who are interested in learning more about this topic, you can watch the full video recording of the webinar at the link below. We will be continuing this important conversation during our next book club discussion which will take place on November 12th at 6:30pm where we will be discussing Angie Schmitt’s new book, Right of Way. You can RSVP for this discussion here.