If you want to check out the final version (showing how we’re making it really difficult for people to walk and bike) you can skip to the end.
Last month I ran across the Copenhagenize Traffic Planning Guide.
It’s a diagram showing how the city of Copenhagen has prioritized healthier, less expensive modes of transportation by creating direct routes through their city for people on foot and on bike. More expensive and detrimental modes of transportation are still allowed in the city, but they must navigate more circuitous routes.
Looking at the diagram made me realize how backwards we have it in the US of A and North America. If one were to design a Traffic Planning Guide for the way we do things it would look more like this:
But reality is even worse than that. In many cases people on foot and on bikes have to share facilities, some of which are more for recreation than for transportation and therefore don’t lead anywhere useful.
On top of terrible, indirect routes for foot-powered transportation we also spend vastly more money on expanding capacity for motor vehicles.
And although our busses and public transport usually run on direct routes, many of the direct and useful routes only run during commute hours. Navigating public transportation on the weekends can be a nightmare.
Unfortunately the absurdity doesn’t end there. Not only are public transit, walking, and biking neglected in favor of individual motor vehicles but there are huge gaps throughout the bicycle and pedestrian networks, in the form of missing sidewalks and dead-end bike lanes.