Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

Designing Places for Cars Isolates Older Americans

America can be a hostile place for people who don't drive, and the difficulty is obviously compounded for people who can't drive because of physical limitations. Even for someone in peak physical condition, crossing suburban arterial roads, waiting for infrequent buses, and traversing enormous parking lots can be unpleasant at best and dangerous at worst.

false

Andrew Price at Network blog Strong Towns writes today about how car-oriented places undermine the wellbeing of millions of elderly Americans:

Many of the elderly cannot (or should not) drive. Unlike children, it is not a phase that they will eventually grow out of. Are we to throw them into a retirement home, just because they are no longer able to drive and maintain their independence? Should we keep forcing them to drive, when we know that in their advanced age, their vision, judgment, and alertness is not what it use to be? Should we impose the burden of carting them around to their children?

In my opinion, all of those are cruel and humiliating options, yet they remain our only options, as long as we keep prioritizing the automobile in the way we design and build our environments.

Next time you go to label a community as being 'family oriented' -- do not just think about the parents or the recently retired that are able to depend on an automobile at a moment's notice. Ask yourself, would your 13 year old kid or elderly granny on a walker have their freedom, and be happy there?

We cannot ignore the problem, because we will all be elderly one day.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Milwaukee Rising shares a revealing story about why a local elected official won't challenge Wisconsin DOT's plan to expand a highway in city neighborhoods. Better Institutions points out that longer commutes help justify more expensive cars, a double financial whammy. And Copenhagenize looks back in time at Copenhagen's 1897 "Cycle Track Association."

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Metro and Caltrans Expect to Complete Torrance 405 Freeway Widening Project Next Month

Metro and Caltrans are adding nearly two miles of new auxiliary freeway lanes, a new on-ramp, and widening adjacent streets including Crenshaw Boulevard and 182nd Street

July 19, 2024

Strategizing About Reduced Funding in the Active Transportation Program

Funding for Cycle 7 of the Active Transportation Program is less than $200 million, and already there have been requests for fifteen times the amount of available funding

July 18, 2024

Eyes on the Street: Hollywood Boulevard Bike Lanes are Open

The Hollywood bike lanes project, already very much in use, is also already being criticized by commenters at Nextdoor and other social media

July 17, 2024
See all posts