Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Pedestrain Friendly Streets
To make things worse, while the signal cycles are even tight for someone like me who can walk fast, the cycles are deadly for a senior citizen or anyone else who can't walk fast. As our population ages this will become an even greater issue.
Sadly it seems that most of the street planners feel that if they slap some haphazard sidewalks along side the street and place your token crosswalks they are set. The sad truth is that most of the people designing our roads have no idea how to design things for pedestrians. Our streets are designed for cars and that is it.
Now take a look at the picture of State Street. How can it be made safer for pedestrians to cross? First of all because of the extreme width of our roads there needs to be pedestrian medians installed in the center of the road. This will allow slower people to make it half way without taking their life into their own hands by having to make it all the way. In the median you would have additional pedestrian lights and the push to walk buttons were appropriate.
More pedestrian friendly cities have these so called "pedestrian medians" or "escape zones" even on narrow streets with one or two lanes in each direction. It is an extra measure of safety to protect pedestrians.
Another element of safety will be flashing lights at the corner warning drivers to check for pedestrians. Some would argue that this would detract drivers even more, but with drivers being too busy talking on their cell phones, listening to their i-pods, doing their makeup and everything else they do in cars these days, pedestrians need every element of safety protection possible.
We need to rethink the way we design our streets.