Chicago Policy Shift Gives Pedestrians a Leg Up

With the coming release of Chicago's new Complete Streets Design Guidelines, the city is undertaking a "seismic policy shift" in how it evaluates all transportation projects: by making pedestrians the primary mode for consideration.

For nearly a century, America's cities have based their transportation decisions on prioritizing what's best for the car. But a significant shift being led by cities like Portland and Chicago is giving alternative forms of transportation as much, or more, weight in design and decision-making.  

Emily Badger looks at Chicago's new Complete Streets Design Guidelines which contain "a small-sounding but seismic policy shift: From now on, in the design guidelines for every effort from major streetscape projects to minor roadside electrical work, transportation work must defer to a new 'default modal hierarchy.' The pedestrian comes first."

"My feeling is that we have to swing the pendulum in the other direction," says Gabe Klein, commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Transportation. "The fact is that the transit user is also a pedestrian, a cyclist is also a pedestrian, an auto user is also a pedestrian. You may not chose the other modes every day, but every day you’re a pedestrian."

Full Story: New Chicago Plan: Pedestrians Come First

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