Same road safety crisis + different contexts = different results
When urban America motorized in the 1920s, it faced a crisis of children crushed by cars, with 7,000 deaths in 1925. Our solution then was to blame the victim, ban pedestrians from the streets invented for them myriad years ago, and turn over the roads to cars. Today, ~7,000 pedestrians each year still die on American streets, in addition to the untold violence our auto-centric transport system wreaks upon local and global ecosystems. This process was extensively documented in Peter Norton’s book “Fighting Traffic.”
Holland faced the same crisis in the 1970s — after feminism, environmentalism, historic preservation, and the bike boom had emerged — and arrived at a radically different and much safer solution for both humans and our planet. London Cyclist magazine has the full story on how “Stop de Kindermoord” (yes, the unsubtle “Stop Killing Kids”) catalyzed these movements and created one of the world’s safest road cultures.
If you’re now inspired to rearrange the streets that you traverse — add some trees, a turning lane, a cycle track, wider sidewalks — you can go ahead and easily try out a new street section at StreetMix. (Hint: you can easily measure street widths using the ruler in Google Earth.)
(H/t to Eli at Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.)