Friday, June 5, 2015

Walking Towards Change

Photo courtesy of The European Magazine

One cold December day in 1913, a man put on a Santa suit and started America down the path towards criminalizing walking. “Jay-walker!” he taunted, startling people who strolled in the middle of the street. With the help of the auto lobby the term soon became ubiquitous, and suddenly roads were no longer the rightful domain of pedestrians.

A century later we’re struggling to overcome the problems we created by shifting the focus of public space from people to cars. In 2013, nearly 5,000 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in the US, and 66,000 were injured. Obesity rates in the US have soared in the past two decades, driven by neighborhood designs that discourage physical activity. Air pollution, water pollution, habitat loss, and other environmental troubles are all linked to the predominance of private vehicle travel in America.

Read the full article in the European Magazine here.

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