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Pedestrian’s Bill of Rights

New ideas on urban planning
Published on May 11, 2007

American traffic laws tell us pedestrians have the right of way. If you believe that, try walking across your city sometime. The way we lay out our roads, our shopping centers and even our houses makes it clear who's really boss. It's good old Otto Mobile. Given that the car is king -- for the time being, anyway -- it's up to us lowly bipeds to demand at least a token of respect from our planners, most of whom are fixated on catering to motor vehicles, and who treat pedestrians as an incidental annoyance. To that end, I offer a pedestrian's Bill of Rights: 1. When traffic laws say pedestrians have the right of way, that shouldn't just mean that if you're hit by a car, it's not your fault. People on foot shouldn't have to fear, evade, negotiate or maneuver around cars, whether moving or parked, just because planners routinely put the convenience of people inside vehicles far above that of people using their own two feet. 2. No pedestrian should ever find that the only way t...

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