How Cities Can Make Streets Safer for Pedestrians

These ideas can make life in our urban areas better for everyone.
How Cities Can Make Streets Safer for Pedestrians
How Cities Can Make Streets Safer for Pedestrians

In the push toward more sustainable and livable urban environments, it’s vital for cities to reevaluate their streets with a keen focus on pedestrian safety. The pedestrian is the most basic building block of urban life, and how cities manage citizen safety impacts the pulse of community life. Read on to explore a few of the ways that cities can make streets safer for pedestrians while still operating as urban centers of bustling activity.

Designing Safe Crossing Zones

One of the most treacherous activities in a pedestrian’s urban odyssey is the simple act of crossing the street. It’s here that cities can make a significant impact on safety. Designating safer crossing zones doesn’t just involve paint and signs—it requires a comprehensive overhaul of how we view streets. Traffic calming measures, such as raised curbs and better-timed crosswalk signals, can significantly reduce pedestrian accidents. One common option in many eastern cities is to incorporate raised pedestrian paths that allow walkers to go up and over traffic without needing to disrupt the flow.

Removing Pedestrian Obstructions

The fewer hazards that pedestrians must deal with, the safer it is for them to walk around. These obstructions aren’t just an annoyance—they create very real hazards. Ensuring a clear and consistent pathway for pedestrians is non-negotiable for urban safety. Cities must enforce bylaws that restrict encroachments onto the pedestrian right-of-way to maintain clarity. Some of the most common examples are uneven sidewalks, suddenly raised curbs, and factors such as manholes. Cities should examine when to swap out manholes so that walkers don’t trip over them, or, worse, fall through them! Creating smooth, easy-to-navigate pathways is the best way for cities to make streets safer for pedestrians.

Encouraging More Walkable Areas

Making cities more pedestrian-friendly isn’t just about tweaking the infrastructure; it’s also about fostering a culture that values walking as a primary mode of transport. Events such as “Open Streets,” where cities temporarily close roads to cars, can help shift the perception of streets as car-dominated spaces. Furthermore, promoting mixed-use development encourages more walking, as errands can be accomplished on foot. Establishing green spaces with well-maintained walking trails also incentivizes pedestrian activity. By making walking not only safer but more desirable, cities can see a dramatic shift toward more vibrant and connected communities.

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