Streetsblog.net

Safe Places for Senior Citizens to Walk

Today on the Streetsblog Network, we’re talking sidewalks. Specifically, Greater Greater Washington
is talking about the lack of sidewalks in many parts of DC where there
is a concentration of people who are particularly in need of them:
senior citizens.

1aseniorswalking_n_biking_1.jpgPhoto by Dan Burden via Transportation for America.

At
a recent hearing on DDOT’s budget, Marlene Berlin, head of the DC
Senior Transportation Initiative for IONA Senior Services, presented
maps showing the sections of DC with the most senior citizens, many of
which are also the most lacking in sidewalks.

Berlin
explained that many seniors rely on walking for transportation (as do
many non-seniors), and missing sidewalks, especially between their
homes and the nearest shops or bus stops, create dangerous situations
for people already more vulnerable to being hit and killed by vehicles.
She urged the Council to fund sidewalks and close the gaps.

DDOT’s general policy calls for adding sidewalks when
reconstructing a road without them. However, neighbors don’t always
agree.

Recently the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) joined the Transportation for America coalition,
saying, "America is aging rapidly and transportation policy and
spending must acknowledge this demographic shift. The upcoming
transportation authorization can help the nation prepare both for its
graying years and a greener future by making roads safer for drivers of
all ages and also offering more user friendly options for pedestrians
and transit users."

Sidewalks and other "complete streets"
measures are an important way to help people stay active, healthy and
happy as they age. Their opponents should maybe think about the
possibility that some day they might no longer be able to drive and
would like a place to walk other than the gutter.

Elsewhere around the network: California High Speed Rail Blog writes about a new poll that shows Americans favor high-speed trains; Livable Streets West Palm Beach looks at the power of ciclovías; and Tom Vanderbilt considers "the efficiency paradox" of higher gas mileage on his blog, How We Drive.