Pedestrian Friendliness

Why is it that when freeways are built that pedestrian traffic is completely ignored? I mean, why are pedestrian crossings over freeways so far apart? Wouldn’t it help some of the traffic issues if there were more ways for pedestrians to cross freeways?

In Calgary, for example, along Deerfoot Trail one is hard pressed to find a bridge over the freeway which has a sidewalk on it. It seems that when most of the interchanges were built, there was no consideration at all that people might want to walk from one place to another. It should be pointed out that most of the newer road crossings do have sidewalks so it seems there has been a change in policy in Calgary at least. But even so, the ones that haven’t been upgraded still present something of a challenge for the pedestrian.

In some cases, the lack of a sidewalk can be attributed to the fact that the interchange was built in the country before there was any development around it. It is possible to understand the reasoning for not building in anything to handle foot traffic, but really, how much extra does it cost to build in the necessary width on the bridge deck to handle a sidewalk? I suppose the reasoning is that there is no sidewalk along a highway so why on the bridge? Well, a person can walk along the ditch in many places (or on the shoulder) but the bridges often have no extra width for a shoulder thus nowhere for people to walk. Granted, there aren’t many pedestrians in the country so it might seem silly to people.

I suppose the point of this relatively pointless ramble is that it would be nice to see some consideration for pedestrians when people are designing transportation networks.

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