The phantom of the “distracted pedestrian” haunts America
January 24, 2018 8:47 AM Subscribe
"As it happens, the enormous legal privileges of car drivers are rooted in an earlier anti-pedestrian campaign dating from the early days of the automobile. Historically, city streets had been part of the public realm. Vendors, horse-drawn vehicles, playing children, and public-transit streetcars all used them, but the pedestrian dominated. Crossing the street on foot was a simple matter of walking from one side to another. Due to their mechanical power, fast speeds, and need for large amounts of physical space, cars upset this mix of uses and posed a new mortal danger to pedestrians exercising their right to mobility. So starting in the 1920s, automakers and their allies led a coordinated effort to “socially reconstruct” American city streets, as historian Peter D. Norton writes — shifting responsibility for maintaining road safety away from drivers and onto pedestrians." Who's Afraid of the Pedextrian?
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