Streets are for People
“The right of way doesn’t just belong to cars,” he said. “It belongs to pedestrians and bicyclists as well.”
– U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
For decades the common belief regarding streets has been that they exist simply to serve the automobile, to move cars from A to B. Certainly, this is a a task of streets, but as Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood‘s words show us, this mindset is changing back to what it once was, that streets are a place to serve the needs of people. This change has started to come about because of groups like the Livable Streets Initiative, and the National Complete Streets Coalition which have been working on the local, state, and national level to point out the error in the common belief and provide solutions. Again, the error is that “we” forgot that streets are for people.
There are certainly some people that still believe the purpose of a street is to move traffic and serve the automobile, but this mindset doesn’t serve the residents of Milwaukee. It certainly doesn’t serve the business owners looking for foot traffic, the property owners looking to develop vacant properties, or the customers hoping to, walk the neighborhood, shop in the stores, or visit their local tavern. Additionally, it doesn’t serve the residents that might choose to bike to destinations along S. 2nd Street or throughout Milwaukee. As with any project there will be detractors, but in this case this project serves both the desires of the majority of stakeholders on the street, and the larger goals of the city.
Quite simply, complete streets and the S. 2nd Street project are about, more choice, more options, and more access, for people.