Essay: How Poor Pedestrian Planning Harms Families

A lack of safe bike and pedestrian infrastructure can drive young families away from places that don’t accommodate car-free residents.

1 minute read

May 22, 2023, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


In an essay in Streetsblog USA, Ned Resnikoff highlights how even cities with ostensibly progressive policies often fail to provide safe pedestrian and bike infrastructure, sometimes driving away residents who want access to safe, convenient bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

In famously liberal Berkeley, California, where Resnikoff lives, city officials are “consistently choosing speed and convenience for automobiles over safety for pedestrians and people on bikes,” Resnikoff says. “[T]he final straw for me came when, after several years of pitched battle, city officials killed a modest plan to improve biker safety on Hopkins Street. That is when it finally became obvious to me that the city was simply unwilling to get serious about ensuring that all residents could move about the city safely, whether they drive a car, or not.”

As Resnikoff points out, “Unfortunately, Berkeley is far from unique in that regard. As traffic violence has climbed over the past few years, a number of ostensibly progressive, climate-friendly cities have demonstrated that they are uninterested in taking even modest steps to support non-drivers.”

Resnikoff writes that this can motivate families like his, who chose to move to Emeryville for several reasons including that city’s commitment to safe bike infrastructure, to relocate or avoid certain cities. “Safe streets are, unequivocally, critical family-friendly policy. Progressive cities should be rushing to lead on this issue.”

Thursday, May 18, 2023 in Streetsblog USA

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