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PHOENIX -- It's tough to walk in the Valley.

The combined cities of Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale rank ninth in the Smart Growth America list of worst cities for pedestrians.

The survey's Pedestrian Danger Index reported that 840 pedestrians died in accidents in the three Valley cities from 2003 to 2012. While only 1.6 percent of people who live in the area get around on foot, there were 1.86 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people from 2008 to 2012.

There was no information on why Phoenix ranked so high in the study, which is supported by the AARP. C.J. Faygas, spokesperson for the Arizona AARP, explained how researchers arrived at their results.

"They base it on the share of local commuters who are walking to work, for instance, and compare it to the best available measure of how many people are likely to be out walking each and every day," Faygas said. "Then they compare it to the most recent five years of data on pedestrian fatalities."

Four Florida cities -- Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami -- occupy the top four spots as the worst cities on the list. Boston was the safest. While 5.3 percent of the people there walk to get around, the annual pedestrian deaths were 0.99 per 100,000 from 2008 to 2012.

Faygas said that there are several things that cities can do to make things safer for pedestrians. "(They can do that by) adding sidewalks and bicycle lanes, shortening crossing distances from one side of the street to the other and improving the crosswalks and making them more walking safe," said Faygas.

You can check out the survey results at SmartGrowthAmerica.org.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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