Comment 101502

By Mal (anonymous) | Posted May 21, 2014 at 20:16:30 in reply to Comment 101462

As if on cue, Smart Growth America does a tally of its own. Of the Top 25 cities ranked by pedestrian danger index, the Washington Post's Emily Badger writes:

"The majority of the metros on this list are in the South or Southwest. What they have in common, though, isn't necessarily climate; it's car-dependence. Nearly all of these cities have grown up in the age of the automobile, at a post-World War II time when we focused less on designing places for pedestrians because society had broadly acquired the luxury of driving instead.

Contrast these cities with Boston (ranked 50th out of the 50 largest metros), New York (48th), Chicago (44th) or even Washington (35th), more compact, older cities that were first plotted and built in the 19th century, or even earlier. Those cities -- although they've long since sprawled at their edges, as well -- are more likely to have smaller blocks, tight street grids and narrower roads originally meant for people on foot or slower traffic (by, well, horse). Urban planners tend to talk about these places as being more "human-scaled" precisely because they were built with pedestrians rather than cars in mind.

It's no wonder in the 21st century that these places remain friendlier to pedestrians (even as, in a city like New York where fewer people drive and more of them walk, pedestrians make up a higher share of all traffic deaths). The challenge now is how to layer pedestrian-friendly infrastructure on top of those places that weren't originally built for them, whether that's in the suburbs of Washington or the heart of Orlando."

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