04 Apr 4 Ways to Make Cities Cleaner, More Accessible and Safer
by Johanne G. Medina Then
Experts estimate that ⅔ of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, at an increase of 30% from 1950. As more people flock to cities, people become more cramped and the air and the quality of air in cities declines.. Transportation around most cities is imperfect, but necessary due to the cost and inconvenience of keeping a car in a city. Here are 4 ways cities can become cleaner, more accessible, and safer for pedestrians.
- Protect Bike Lanes
By creating physically protected bike lanes, residents are both safer and encouraged to use emission free transportation. Giving cyclists and people using alternative transportation like e-scooters more protection makes city travel simpler and safer. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado Denver and the University of New Mexico estimated that cities with physical protection for cyclists would experience half as many accidents and nearly half as many traffic deaths.
- Close the Streets
In July of 2020, the city of Hoboken (NJ) was looking for a safe way for residents to get outside and enjoy the city without the risk of accidents. In May, the city announced it’s Summer Streets program. The initiative meant no cars would be allowed on the waterfront Sinatra Drive weekly from 8 AM to 6 PM. Summer Streets provided risk-free opportunities for residents to socialize and exercise without any risk of injury. While the program was created to combat issues from the Covid-19 pandemic, it has since been brought back in both 2021 and 2022. Other cities can encourage residents to explore the city without reliance on cars by systematically closing roads and pushing citizens to walk or cycle.
- Enhance Public Transit
While walking, biking, e-scootering and other emission free forms of transportation are important to decarbonizing cities, those options aren’t for everybody. Cities can enhance their current public transit by adding electric buses as well as incentivizing cabs and rideshares to switch to electric vehicles. By adding EV charging stations and providing tax breaks to rideshare and taxi drivers using EVs, the city will grow closer to net-zero emissions all while maintaining accessibility for all residents.
- Increase Plantlife
Finally, cities can help to fix multiple issues by planting more trees. As the earth continues to heat up and summers get hotter, trees can help reduce temperatures. Additionally, trees play an important role in carbon reduction and a single full-grown tree can capture up to 48 pounds of CO2 annually.
City living comes with plenty of compromise, but simple adjustments can greatly improve the quality of life. By simply embracing alternatives to cars, cities can help their residents live a safer, healthier life.