Until the 20th century, city streets and rural roadways were made for people. People walked in the street. If they rode, it was on a horse or maybe a bicycle or inside a carriage. Once automobiles arrived en masse, motor vehicles of all types essentially drove over the people, horses and buggies.
Speed and efficiency became the point of transportation planning. When congestion slowed traffic, roads were widened, traffic signals and stop signs were removed, crosswalks faded away. In many places, being able to safely cross a street on foot or by bicycle is the exception rather than the rule.
Complete Streets policies — also referred to as Safe Streets policies — are being implemented by city, county and state governments nationwide.
As seen above, plants, poles and paint turned a local roadway into a safer, shareable, more sensible street. Within just a few hours, a street created for cars was transformed into a Complete Street for all users of all ages.
This article is an excerpt from the "Provide More Ways to Get Around" chapter of the AARP book Where We Live: Communities for All Ages — 100+ Inspiring Examples From America’s Community Leaders. Download or order your free copy.
Book published June 2018