You know we’ve got a problem when kids don’t feel safe crossing the street. The other day I pulled up to a green light with a walk sign (yes, I was driving). A boy of 10 or so was waiting at the far corner to cross the street. He had the walk sign, but stood still until all of the traffic passed. Being cautious and vigilant are important, but so is creating a safe environment where kids can walk without fear of being run over. A common theme throughout my posts thus far has been the need to acknowledge the right of way and yield to pedestrians. We have removed ourselves from walking so much that the supremacy of the car is taken for granted.
Safe walking routes to and from schools are essential for health children, communities, and sustainable transportation. The days of the neighborhood school where everyone could walk are long gone. Several groups are working to bring them back, but as long as kids don’t feel safe walking because cars fail to acknowledge them and their right to walk, there will be barriers to children walking to school, the store, or a friend’s house.
Not to beat a dead horse on this one, but pedestrians need to be protected. Until we are returned to our position at the heart of transportation (in both the culture and the law’s enforcement), there is little hope for a successful return to the days of safe walking.