Friday, May 27, 2011

Complete Streets Are For Everyone

NPR had a story this week on how Complete Streets make streets safer for pedestrians who are crossing them. Especially for those people who cannot sprint across an intersection.

As America Ages, A Push To Make Streets Safer

Including Seniors and the less mobile.

This is a concept that doesn't get much coverage - social costs.

When pedestrians are unnecessarily injured there is a cost to society that is accrued - lost wages, lost productivity - plus the opportunity cost of having medical personnel respond to an accident that could have been prevented by better design.

Rather some people shout the simpler slogan of "unfunded mandate". Yes, unfunded mandates are a burden but in this case it ignores the fact that it is a concept to guide a design process for when roads are built or repaired so the money is already there. I like to save the unfunded mandate accusation for when it really is a problem.

Do people in earthquake zones call building codes an unfunded mandate? No. Because like the Complete Streets design concept, taking time to do things right the first time saves people from having to pay a lot at some later time.