Virtual Events: Angie Schmitt Talks Safer Streets

UPDATE: PEC, Charlottesville BPAC , and the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library are co-hosting an online Right of Way book club. (with free books)

Learn More

In this webinar, author and active-transportation advocate, Angie Schmitt, discussed the ways that inequality and other social trends combine to make walking along America’s roads and streets needlessly dangerous.

This event was organized by The Piedmont Environmental Council and co-sponsored by the Coalition for Smarter Growth. It’s part of PEC’s effort to pull together an alliance of organizations that share a vision of a better-connected community for walking, biking and other forms of active transportation in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia. Learn more at

More about the author

Angie Schmitt is one of the country’s best known writers and experts on the topic of sustainable transportation. She was the long-time national editor at Streetsblog and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Bicycling, GOOD, Landscape Architecture Magazine, and a number of other publications. She lives in Cleveland with her husband and two children. She is the principal and owner of 3MPH Planning and Consulting. Those who want to dig into the issue further can check out her new book “Right of Way” –

Upcoming Events

Starting January 2021:

The City of Charlottesville is sponsoring a reading club for Angie Schmitt’s book Right of Way. Sign up here.

Late February, 2021:

Albemarle/Charlottesville Active Mobility Summit (online)
Organizations and individuals who share a vision of a better-connected community will gather to identify opportunities for beneficial collaboration and commit to specific one-year goals. Sign up for PEC’s email alerts to get notified when registration opens


Questions? Reach out to Peter Krebs at

Zoom Chat From Event

Marco Sanchez: Welcome everyone! We’re going to get started in just a couple of minutes.

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:” Nationwide interest! Nice

Roni Wood: “Roni Wood with Best Foot Forward Pedestrian Safety in Orlando, FL “

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:” “Jason Espie, EPR, PC, AICP (he/him) planning consultant in Charlottesville. UVA MUEP grad ’06”

Christopher Miller: Thanks for joining the webinar;  please post questions in this Chat box

Lyle Solla-Yates: “Lyle Solla-Yates, Charlottesville Planning Commission”

Peter Ohlms: “Peter Ohlms, Charlottesville Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and other things”

Stewart Schwartz (CSG): “Great to see so many on the ground activists on the call including from CSG\’92s territory in DC, NoVA and the Md suburbs!”

Michael Holroyd: “Michael Holroyd, Rivanna Trails Foundation”

Navarre: “I\’92m Navarre Bartz, co-chair of Cville\’92s Bike/Ped Advisory Committee.”

Lucinda Shannon: “Lucinda Shannon, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission and the Charlottesville Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization “

Serenity NOW! – Jaelyn Munson: “Jaelyn Munson, Petersburg Virginia Cooperative Extension Office, Petersburg Healthy Options Partnerships (PHOPs)/CDC HOP Grant”

Galaxy S9: #480683#

Rip Verkerke: “Rip Verkerke, president, Rivanna Trails Foundation and professor, UVA School of Law” “I’m josh carp, local anti-parking agitator”

Jay Hightman: You needed a none.

Serenity NOW! – Jaelyn Munson: “Unfortunately there isn’t a “”none”” option”

Ryan Hollingshead: Mine is none.

laura pho: I can’t check any of these boxes on this poll!

Lucinda Shannon: I can not reach any of those destinations in the poll safely. 

Lyle Solla-Yates: I think of you as a pro-everything-but-parking agitator Josh

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:” If people are on a browser the polls wont work

Greg Erhardt: “Greg Erhardt, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Kentucky. “

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:” I think you need the app to use poll feature

Peter Krebs: Learn more about this work in Cville/Albemarle:

Judd: There\’92s a hug difference between safely walk and comfortably walk as well.

Lyle Solla-Yates: Weird group

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:” live near downtown… just saying

Auguste: should be 100% for all

Peter Ohlms: “It didn’t say “”a good park”””

Rick Holt: “Rick Holt, Chair, Active Prince William, and George Mason University, HR Consultant/Educational Psychology Researcher” “it didn’t say “”with your toddler”” so i checked a bunch of boxes”

Lyle Solla-Yates: Millionaire’s row

Auguste: just moved to LA. I am horrified lol

Rick Holt: “Yes, children playing in the streets!”

Peter Ohlms: Peter Norton is the Third Peter after the First Peter (Peter Krebs) and the Other Peter (Peter Ohlms)

Auguste: more people looking to walk?

Lucinda Shannon: I am concerned for the people I see walking on 29 near Hydraulic Rd area. I see people walking on the side of the road and trying to cross 29 North. I imagine some of them are trying to get to work (service industry) and public transit.

Christopher Miller: Does anyone know the current status of Virginia code as to penalties for hitting a pedestrian ?  In a crosswalk

laura pho: I really appreciate your discussion of equity issues.

Lucinda Shannon: VDOT and the police do not report race in the accident/safety  data they collect. But you an find it from hospitals by cause of injury. 

Peter Ohlms: Christopher Miller – may be relevant to your question but isn’t specific to actually hitting a pedestrian

Christopher Miller: Virginia still recognizes claims of contributory negligence in cases of vehicles hitting pedestrians

Michael Holroyd: “Q: Is it clear that those high PDI scores in the north vs south are due to urban design, vs maybe weather (e.g. can\’92t walk much when it\’92s -20F out\’85 not that I\’92d want to walk in 100F either)?”

Lyle Solla-Yates: You can find Charlottesville here

Navarre: Curious how other vulnerable populations like children and disabled folks are affected.

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:” “@Lyle, nice map!”

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:” And there is this too:

Jenny Cox: “The Cleveland map is the Doan Brook Watershed. Almost a perfect match, I think, for much of the green area.”

Auguste: autonomous vehicles will solve this s

Auguste: soon ish (20 years?)

Stewart Schwartz (CSG): “Re Lucinda\’92s observation about Route 29 near Hydaulic:  suburban arterials are some of the most dangerous places for pedestrians with a disproportionate impact on service workers. They are too wide, too fast, with too few crossings”

Navarre: “Autonomous vehicles are already hitting pedestrians, I wouldn\’92t rely on them for safety.”

Christopher Miller: Drivers Must Stop for Pedestrians in Virginia Crosswalks or Risk $500 Fine \’96 NBC4 Washington:

Lyle Solla-Yates: Totally different safety funding yes?

Stewart Schwartz (CSG): “Re Michael Holroyd question \’97 the Ped Danger Index is a ratio of the number of people killed or seriously injured compared to the number of people walking, so it is independent of the climate factor. It directly relates to how safe or unsafe is the built environment.”

Michael Holroyd: “Awesome, thanks!”

User: Re: Minnesota / is this not poor zoning & Planning opportunity?  Homes divided from services by highway?  Presumes ownership of reliable cars. 

Lyle Solla-Yates: We were all hippies in 2012

Shannon Duffy: Shannon Duffy – member of Fairfax City Citizens for Smarter Growth and Ex Dir of Old Town Fairfax Business Association.

Peter Krebs: “Since reading Angie’s book, I’ve started counting car types. There are times when I see something like 10/1 ratio SUV/cars…”

Lyle Solla-Yates: “Same, it’s grim. And that’s in the city”

Auguste: yikes 

Auguste: petrol costs a lot more in Europe

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:” “We like to supersize everything. homes, burgers, sodas, cars…”

Stewart Schwartz (CSG): Welcome Shannon! Yours is a great local group and ally!

Auguste: I actually like Bloomberg’s proposed soda tax in NYC

Auguste: liked

Peter Ohlms: “To bring the auto discussion closer to C’ville, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is just up the road in Greene County and does all sorts of crash tests – but I don’t think it tests vehicles for how lethal they are to people (a.k.a. pedestrians) they hit.”

Christopher Miller: What about back up cameras?  Aren\’92t they nearly standard equipment?

Jenny Cox: “The 4K lb. business tax write off is one reason why people buy larger cars, no?”

Lyle Solla-Yates: Charlottesville’s Bill Lucy did some of the groundbreaking research on backovers. Terrifying then

Navarre: Europe is waaay ahead of us in requiring cars to meet pedestrian crash test requirements

The Ambassador: “Good point, Chris”

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:” “@Lyle, nice plug for Prof Lucy’s work!”

Lyle Solla-Yates: Always! Way ahead of his time

Stewart Schwartz (CSG): Re Peter Ohms \’97 that prompts a great idea \’97 campaigning to get the institute to do ped crash tests if they indeed don\’92t do these tests.

Peter Ohlms: Stewart – it all comes back to what the insurance companies think might mitigate costs for them.

Stewart Schwartz (CSG): Thanks for sharing Bill Lucy\’92s research. He also demonstrated that the suburbs are more dangerous than cities when accounting for car crashes.

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:”

Lyle Solla-Yates: “Queens Blvd was a national leader on street widening tech, highly influential

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:”

Auguste: just spent a year in Copenhagen. we have a longggg way to go ahah 

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:” were cant unmute ourselves

Lyle Solla-Yates: Copenhagen is eye opening

“Marco S\’e1nchez, PEC:” Or type it here!

Greg Erhardt: Toronto?

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:” no permission

Peter Ohlms: “Thanks for posting those, Jason. “

Eileen McCarthy: “As Jason indicates, IIHS has started to do some ped-related ratings, but I think their focus is more on crash avoidance than on minimizing the effects of a crash by vehicle design.”

Stewart Schwartz (CSG): If you love Copenhagen be sure to look up Jan Gehl\’92s work including his book Cities for People. Chris Miller and I joined a DC area delegation in 2000 that visited four cities in Europe including Copenhagen and met Jan. It was impressive even then and even better now.

Peter Krebs: This is not a quiet group nor geographically unknowledgeable. That mute issue was on Marco and me. Sorry about that!

Auguste: ah great. thanks stewart

Peter Ohlms: At least one C’ville street was recently agitating to have its speed humps removed.

Lyle Solla-Yates: I believe a lot of that good stuff in Detroit was Charlottesville’s former mayor Maurice Cox’s work

Christopher Miller: Are there good design standards for Dark Sky goals consistent with improved pedestrian safety.

Stewart Schwartz (CSG): “Sonya Breehey, CSG\’92s NOVA Advocacy Manager and a Fairfax resident and President of Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling are on the tonight as well as Bill Pugh, CSG Senior Policy Fellow and an Alexandria resident who helped with the fight for King St and Seminary Road bike lanes and traffic calming. Those streets are unbelievably safer and more pleasant with design changes like Angie is showing in this image right now.”

Navarre: “This is something I believe Andrew Mondeschein and some other members of the Cville PLACE Task Force have been looking into, Christopher. I don\’92t know myself, though.”

Lyle Solla-Yates: “Yes, it’s in city code, not sure about County”

Lyle Solla-Yates: Jeff Werner is the staff contact

Virginia Conservation Network: Ordered my copy two days ago!

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:” “Folks, if you haven’t see this resrouce already.

laura pho: Do you have any data on the effectiveness of traffic calming murals as a cost effective way to get communities involved to draw murals that would get drivers to slow down and realize that people in the area where they are driving?

angie schmitt: Here it is!

Robert: Is color of clothing at night a key element of pedestrian deaths?

Tyler Brown: “Question for Angie: while infrastructure is the best bet it can be expensive and take time to implement; many safety campaigns like Vision Zero (historically) rely on increased policing – what are your thoughts on how to enforcement without increasing policing, which also disproportionately impacts black and brown communities?”

Ben Frye: What was the book mentioned talking about folks wanting \’93meaner looking\’94 cars?

User: Legally – Is driving a privilege and walking a right?  

Rick Holt: How can we get children more involved in the design of the built environment? Their voices should be heard by planners when designing infrastructure. 

KLM: “as a local advocate, I am extremely concerned by the emerging pattern of MoCo police reports describing circumstances in which the driver was clearly at fault but declare the pedestrian at fault. It is unclear why they seem not to know the law but it has enormous consequences for individual lives and for community safety “


Stewart Schwartz (CSG): Island Press has a CyberMonday 25% off sale today with free shipping. Buy Angie\’92s book! And lots of other good ones as well. Like Jeff Speck\’92s \’93Walkable City Rules\’94.

Jay Hightman:

Rick Holt: Vision Zero planning in suburbs. How should this be approached?

Auguste: autonomous vehicles

Jay Hightman: “question: I’m not sure what other cville people think, but I don’t get the impression that our local electeds and city/county staff see pedestrian safety as a high priority. for the positive examples that Angie gave, how did communities convince elected and staff to care about the issue in the first place, and how can we make that happen here?”

Auguste: possible everywhere as a result

Peter Ohlms: Rick – regarding getting children more involved / designing streets for them

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:” @Peter. Nice!

Peter Ohlms: “LOL, Navarre beat me to it, I fail at chat”

Navarre: There was also a European project that was something like a 90 cm Project (or something like that name) that analyzed urban design at the height of a child or wheelchair user.

Auguste: won’t AEVs render this discussion useless in the next decade or so?

User: How can residential neighborhoods reclaim their roadways (think 1930’s) if they have been co-opted for thru traffic by local government? 

“Marco S\’e1nchez, PEC:” We had a Charles Brown event in Charlottesville a couple of years ago in Charlottesville. He\’92s fantastic

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:” “This article speaks to Angie’s talk about fatalities in rural areas / tribal areas:,population%2C%20p%3C0.0001).&text=Rural%20crashes%20were%20most%20likely,and%20an%20undivided%20highway%20segment.”

Jay Hightman: “Tom Flood is a great activist on Twitter, producing video about the dangers on the road for cyclists,

Rick Holt: Vision Zero presentation to BOCS in Prince William County a couple of weeks ago was all about enforcement. Why is so hard for elected officials to understand it is a design issue?

Rick Holt: “Yes, Tom Flood is creating some great videos”

Jenny Cox: I’d love to have access to our chat when the talk is over–can you put the conversation on the PEC website somewhere?

Navarre: Auguste:

Peter Krebs: No problem Jenny! We’ll include it in the followup!

“Marco Sanchez, PEC:” I can make the resources mentioned in the chat on PEC’s website

Roni Wood: “You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned Florida and namely Central FL is the #1 most dangerous in the nation.  We educate a tri-county footprint where 19 people are reported struck and killed every single week here near Orlando.  Thank you for the Zoom.  Best Foot Forward Central Florida is working hard to bring awareness to our problem in our area to crosswalk / pedestrian safety through Education, Enforcement and Engineering changes. Tickets here are $164 for that vehicle in the crosswalk when ped crossing. Being a victim myself struck by a driver in a crosswalk in 2018 and a year recovery I do love to see what different areas are working on to make a difference.  Thank you…I will pick up your book. “

Fionnuala Quinn: What about contributory negligence states (like Virginia) – it\’92s an incredible barrier to surmount iwhen pedestrians have been killed and aren\’92t around to defend themselves

Lyle Solla-Yates: “Charlottesville was an early leader on car planning, establishing some limited spaces like the Downtown Mall that were intended to be safe from dangerous driving.  How can we build on that?”

Navarre: “Turn downtown into a superblock, a la Barcelona!”

Christopher Miller: Traffic calling and reducing design speeds on rural roads seems to be effective as well.

Navarre: Has there been any movement toward regualations that would require pedestrian crash safety like that in Europe (which gives us trucks with sloped fronts instead of the moving walls we have here).

Stewart Schwartz (CSG): Re Chris Miller \’97 and of course PEC/Route 50 Corridor Coalition campaign to win the roundabouts and calming gateway elements on Route 50 in Loudoun is a great national example.

Jay Hightman: Comments I gave at a City of Charlottesville planning commission meeting. City of Charlottesville Planning Commission Meeting – Jay Hightman\

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:” What an amazing group of people!!  

Greg Erhardt: Well done!

Auguste: thanks!

Auguste: good luck

laura pho: Thank you.  Very informative.

Auguste: pls come to LA when covid disappears

Peter Krebs: Sign up for the Right of Way Reading Club:

Peter Ohlms: For the record… because there was mention of road diets I am obligated to drop this link about work in Virginia:

Andrea Chango: what time for tomorrow meeting?

Peter Krebs:

Stewart Schwartz (CSG): Thank you Angie! You continue to be a great inspiration – from your amazing Streetsblog reporting record to this great book!

angie schmitt: Thanks guys!! 🙂

Peter Krebs: EC Donation Info:

“Jason Espie, EPR, AICP:” “Have fun, stay safe, look both ways!”

Lucinda Shannon: Thank you!

Navarre: “Thank you, Angie! Looking forward to the book!”

Lyle Solla-Yates: “Thank you, much needed inspiration”

Peter Russell: Thank you!

nidhi: thank you!!

Andrea Chango: thank you