Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

Back Home in Coeur d’Alene, Where the Cars Roam Free

Pretty much everyone involved in the movement for livable streets has by now read the reports and studies about the importance of street design in pedestrian safety. But nothing can bring the point home like what happened to the writer of the Streetsblog Network blog Imagine No Cars: He was hit by a car.

First off, we are happy to tell you that he was lucky enough to escape the encounter with only a bruise to his leg. Here's what happened.

Ramsey.jpgA Google street view of the road where the writer of Imagine No Cars was hit.

The other day, he reports, he was visiting his home town of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. He was dropped off by a Greyhound bus at a different spot than he expected -- a gas station on a particularly bleak and pedestrian-unfriendly stretch of road. As he walked in the direction he knew his father would be driving from to pick him up, he crossed an intersection where two four-lane arterials meet. He was in a crosswalk when he was struck by a car making a right on red. The driver was looking the other way.

He writes that the incident made him even more acutely aware of the importance of street design. He has been attending school in Missoula, Montana, and has become accustomed to the streetscape there, which is much more pedestrian-friendly:

Living in Missoula, I have walked hundreds, perhaps even a thousandmiles around town over the course of seven years. In that time I havenever been hit by a car... I don't even remember having a close call.But here I am, back in the town I grew up in, and five minutes afterstepping off the bus I am hit by a car.

The whole time I livedin Coeur d'Alene, I never once got around by walking or biking. The onlyreal way to get around is by car. Seven years of walking in Missoula =no problem, five minutes of walking in CDA = getting hit by a car.Missoula and CDA are also fairly close in terms of population size.

Whyis this? Because of not only the streetscape that dominates in CDA(suburban arterials with speeds above 35 mph) but also the developmentpattern that essentially forced those types of roadways to be built.…

Because people have to drive everywhere and there are almost nopedestrians or cyclists, the motorists don't look out for these typesof people. Those who do walk or bike are mostly a working-poorunderclass -- except for the roadies -- that most suburbanites don't spend any time thinking of between tripsto Starbucks, work, and dropping the kids off at soccer practice.

Coincidentally, the Coeur d'Alene Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee has recently launched a new blog. Sounds like they need it.

More from around the network: Garden State Smart Growth on VMT as an economic indicator. BicycleLaw.com on why the LA doctor case does not signal a sea change in the relationship between bicyclists and the justice system. And WalkBikeCT has a few caveats on a the concept of a vulnerable users law.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Wednesday’s Headlines

How should we react to public indifference about the danger cars pose to society? Perhaps a sitcom has something to teach us.

July 24, 2024

Opinion: Is Kamala Harris ‘The Climate President We’ve Been Waiting For’?

Kamala Harris fought hard for a better transportation plan in the San Diego region despite big political risks. If elected president, will she do the same for the country?

July 24, 2024

America is Setting Micromobility Records — But That Boom Could Go Bust Without Public Funding

Shared bike and scooter trips soared 20 percent in a single year. So why are so many U.S. systems shutting down — and what will it take to keep the revolution rolling?

July 24, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines Are Running Hard

More political news: Today's top stories delve into Kamala Harris' record on climate change and Republicans' plans for the Trump administration if he returns to power.

July 23, 2024

Disabled NYer’s are Victims of Gov. Hochul’s Congestion Pricing Pause

So many New Yorkers can’t use the closest subway station to their homes because they don't have an elevator. And Gov. Hochul just halted funding for 23 new lifts.

July 23, 2024
See all posts