National media sources are beginning to recognize it too and to share these stories. A recent article in Fast Company brings home this point right in its headline: "Design Is Better Than Enforcement To Make Cities Safer For Everyone." Charlie Sorrel writes:
Slower cars means safer roads, and while adding speed cameras and reducing speed limits can help, nothing beats a design that stops drivers from speeding in the first place. Also, slower cars mean less injury in the case of a collision, but again, avoiding the collision to begin with is even better.
The article shares a couple of ways to slow down cars, including narrowing lanes and providing "more frequent stimuli" outside the vehicle—in simpler terms, "stuff to look at." People, trees, shops, everything that makes up a productive city. The article states:
One of the main causes of accidents is driver fatigue and sleepiness, which is in turn caused in large part by monotony. You're a lot more likely to doze of on a long stretch of featureless highway, with mile after mile of unchanging scenery, then you are to fall asleep while navigating curved country lanes or narrow city streets.
The beauty of slower streets is that, as we pointed out during our recent Bike Week, not only are they safer for people on bikes and out walking, they're safer for drivers too. And, in many instances, they don't even reduce capacity. What's not to love? Sure, you might sacrifice a few seconds of speed in your car, but if it saves lives and makes our cities more economically productive, why on earth isn't that worth it?
As the article concludes, getting the political will to make these changes can be tough. As anyone who's ever attended a public meeting knows, some residents and business owners tend to push back on any sort of change—even if it's small and proven to be successful.
While I think the author left out some key points in this short article, the overall message is clear: Slower streets are better for everyone.
If you want lots more evidence for why strategic street design can put our cities on the path to financial resilience and public safety, visit our #SlowtheCars campaign page.