Memphis leaders look to make city more walkable for pedestrians

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Pedestrian safety is a major concern in Memphis, a city ranked in the top five deadliest in the U.S. for pedestrians.

FOX13 has reported extensively on crashes involving pedestrians, pedestrian deaths, and notoriously dangerous intersections.

According to Smart Growth America, Memphis ranks third for most dangerous metro cities for pedestrians.

This year, nearly 70 people have been hit by cars and killed while walking in Memphis, shattering the previous record set in 2020.

This week alone there were three pedestrian-involved crashes in 24 hours. Two pedestrians died.

City officials have been trying to address the problem and are working to make the city more walkable.

Nicholas Oyler, City of Memphis Bikeway and Pedestrian Program Manager, said motorists have been speeding more in recent years.

“The result is, when a crash occurs, the crash is more severe,” he said.

People walking in Memphis are being killed by cars at an alarming rate, but Oyler said it’s hard to pinpoint one thing to lay blame on.

“It’s multiple things,” he said.

When a driver is going 40 mph or more, a person walking has an 80% chance of dying from a collision, according to Smart Growth America.

City officials said things like educating drivers, more speed enforcement and crosswalk enforcement can make Memphis safer for pedestrians.

Those solutions take time and money, something Oyler said can be a chllange.

“There is no dedicated budget at the city right now for pedestrian safety projects,” he said.

He said the city doesn’t really have a choice but to adapt and make the Bluff City more pedestrian-friendly.

“I think it’s something that we have to do if we want to be a vibrant and prosperous city in the decades to come,” Oyler said.

MORE: 1 killed in crash involving pedestrian, Memphis police say