On December 3, 2014, a 7-year-old girl named Destiny Gonzalez was killed while crossing State Street in Springfield, Massachusetts.
What gets lost in the shocking statistics about the number of pedestrians who die each year in traffic crashes—4,884 in the U.S. in 2014, more than 6,700 in 2020—is that they aren’t “statistics” at all, or even “pedestrians” really, but people with names, who had hopes and dreams, and family and friends forever changed by the loss of their loved one. That was certainly the case with Destiny, who was killed while leaving the Central Library with her mother and cousin. She also left behind a father, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
Something else that gets lost in these discussions is how our streets got so unsafe to begin with. Our streets, roads, and stroads are designed according to values so embedded that traffic engineers themselves might not be constantly aware of them. That’s a problem because you can’t fix something you don’t even know exists. It’s also the topic this week on the Strong Towns Podcast.
In this episode, Chuck Marohn reads an excerpt from the first chapter of Confessions of a Recovering Engineer. Chuck describes why the high costs of the North American transportation system—costs in life and injury, as well as time and prosperity—are the byproduct of the values at the heart of traffic engineering. He also explains why the values of engineers, including traffic speed and traffic volume, aren’t the values most people would prioritize.
Confessions of a Recovering Engineer is available everywhere on Wednesday, though if you preorder now you can get immediate access to Chapter One (along with these other great bonuses).
Chuck Marohn Answers Your Questions
Rick Harnish: Stronger Transit for Stronger Cities
Bad Benches (and Other Park Problems)
Fighting an Urban Highway Expansion in Shreveport
Johnny Sanphillippo: The Trajectory of Suburbia
Pete Davis: The Case for Commitment in an Age of “Infinite Browsing”
Here's How Cities Undermine Their Own Competitiveness
Expertise Is Not Absolute
Jason Slaughter: The Goal Isn't to Build a Cycling City
Listen to the Briefing About the Strong Towns Lawsuit
Strong Towns Has Filed a Lawsuit Against the Minnesota Board of Engineering Licensure in Federal District Court
Ann Sussman and Justin Hollander: Architecture and the Unconscious Mind
Alex Alsup: Keeping People in Their Homes in Detroit
Dr. Samuel Hughes: A Proposal for Strong Suburbs
Michael Odiari: Putting a Check on Deadly Traffic Stops
Strongest Town Webcast: Lockport, IL vs. Oxford, MS (Audio Version)
Eric Jacobsen: How Car Culture is Making Us Lonelier
Beth Osborne: America's Roads are "Dangerous by Design"
Grace Olmstead: The Legacy—and the Future—of the Places We Leave Behind
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