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Resource ID: #26099
The Orlando metropolitan region is a classic example of late 20th century-sprawl, lacking in comprehensive urban planning and built around available roads. The metropolis experienced explosive growth following the founding of Walt Disney World (1971), SeaWorld Orlando (1973) and Universal Orlando (1988.) Government agencies responded to the growing population's transportation needs primarily by making the existing roads wider and faster. By the 21st century it became apparent that pedestrians were never a significant part of the planning. It became apparent because so many of them were getting run down and killed, even though most people, it seemed, avoided walking. By almost all accounts Orlando had become the most dangerous city in the country for pedestrians. The Orlando Sentinel set out to explore the plight of pedestrians and the drivers who hit them, telling the stories of those killed or seriously injured, those who had to live with it, and the public institutions - the road agencies, police, hospitals and courts - that, ultimately, coped ineffectively with the carnage. To do so, we carefully analyzed highway patrol data on thousands of crashes and reviewed full crash investigation reports and court files on scores of them. We tracked down survivors, victims' families and drivers. And we used their stories (backed by volumes of data) to show how dangerous walking in Orlando had become.