One month ago, Curbed’s SXSW panel on how cities can design safer streets was canceled due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. So we made a move that’s become commonplace in our new pandemic reality—we turned the talk into an online conversation and invited anyone to attend.
On the day we recorded this conversation in mid-March, before cities had issued orders to shelter-in-place, many of the statistics discussed were still true. The number of people killed while walking and biking in the U.S. had been increasing dramatically over the last few years. Pedestrian deaths had recently hit a 30-year high. The Trump administration had just refused to sign the Stockholm Declaration, a World Health Organization-endorsed agreement to end traffic deaths by 2050.
But as we’ve all witnessed over the last three weeks, the conversation about street safety will be different in 2020. Streets are all but empty as people stick closer to home. The number of traffic collisions have plummeted. Yet what appears to be a victory when it comes to road deaths has come at a devastating cost to the country’s most marginalized residents, tens of millions of whom now don’t have jobs and can’t pay rent.
Hear from Amy Cohen, co-founder of Families for Safe Streets, Corinne Kisner, executive director of National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), and Los Angeles Department of Transportation general manager Seleta Reynolds on how street design is saving lives now—and how we can rebuild our transportation systems more equitably in a post-COVID-19 world.
Stay tuned for more virtual programming as we use this time apart to make our neighborhoods stronger, together.