Save Us from the Death Machines
An opinion by Jason Hilford
The grim statistics cited in ASLA’s “Deadly by Design” article didn’t surprise me at all. Much of our relatively young nation’s infrastructure has sprung up since the advent, and in service, of the automobile, so it follows that walking is often dangerous here.
Unfortunately, locales that have the highest need for pedestrian-friendly infrastructure are commonly those that can’t, or won’t, pay for it. As the article points out, pedestrians killed by cars in the U.S. “are disproportionately from vulnerable groups, including people of color, those living in low-income communities, Native peoples, and the elderly.” As far as I’m concerned, it’s criminal that these populations bear the brunt of the auto-centric municipal planning of our past and, even more disconcerting, present.
My infinitely wise co-worker Paul once told me that landscape architects bridge the gap between humankind and the natural world. Walking is the most natural of our transportation options. Our upright bodies are built for it, and it's meditative, costs nothing, requires no gear, and doesn’t kill trees or melt icecaps. So I guess it’s up to you to help bring us closer to our natural state – and apparently, save lives. My sincere thanks for what you do.