Cars vs. Pedestrians

Why can't we all just get along. 

It's not a big secret that the design of our urban built environment has been built in a manner that puts cars and pedestrians in conflict. What is shocking is how long we have been aware of this antagonistic relationship and how yet we still continue to do very little about it. Although design cannot fix all of the conflicts that exist between pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles, there are techniques and behaviors that can and should be utilized to help urban life move more fluidly. 

Pet Peeves


I have observed the phenomenon of cars parked in driveways in San Francisco with such high frequency that it appears to be a significant problem to the walkability of streets. Now I understand that sometimes as a driver, you need to quickly stop by to pick something up, drop something off, etc etc, and that in neighborhoods with atrocious parking that the only feasible alternative can be to temporarily stop in a driveway. Ultimately, this ends up becoming just another obstacle (sometimes significant) for pedestrians to move around.

The issue that I have with this behavior (besides the fact that it promotes an auto-centric culture of doom) is that first the automobiles pull all the way into the driveway to get 'off the street' when in reality it would be more appropriate for the driver to pull onto the sidewalk only as far as needed to be out of operating traffic lanes (take advantage of the width of that parking lane!). Of course it's a dangerous game since drivers may end up parking in the bike lane which is also a huge encumbrance.

Although it does require drivers parking their cars to extoll an additional few steps that their car was unable to do for them, the amount of energy saved on all parts is immense (that little bit of gas is still more then the amount of calories you burn). 

Back to Reality...

Before I get too carried away on yet another anti-vehicular rant, I should reiterate that it is important in the urban realm for all traffic users to try their best to responsibly share space. A large part of our urban problems could be fixed by design, though the easier and quicker way to provide some relief is to change behavior.