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

Pedestrian Overpasses: Hamster Tunnels for Walking and Biking

Skywalks, pedestrian overpasses, or, as our friends at Transit Miami like to call them, "hamster tunnels," are an ugly symbol of the last century's transportation sensibilities. In an effort to comfortably integrate pedestrians into the street fabric and boost sidewalk activity, some cities, including Cincinnati and Baltimore, have been tearing down their pedestrian bridges.

But Miami isn't there yet. Matthew Toro at Transit Miami says the city's planners -- a bit on the old-fashioned side when it comes to streets and transportation -- have installed these things all over the greater Miami region. And it's not doing the city any favors, Toro says.

false

These overpasses reify the misguided mid-20th century notion that the automobile reigns supreme. All other modes of transport must make way for, and bow their heads to, the tyrannical king of the road.

Through these pedestrian overpasses, the built environment is effectively screaming at people who choose to use their own energy to get around the city: Step aside, petty pedestrians! Out of the way, bumbling bicyclists! The automobile is coming through!

These are not the messages we should be physically inscribing into the nature of our city. This is not the infrastructure needed to support a socially, economically, and ecologically thriving urban geography.

You want to keep the streets safe for pedestrians? There’s only one real solution: Make the streets safe for pedestrians!

Another slow-adapter, Cleveland, recently inspired a national round of head-scratching over its plan to install two of these babies downtown.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Beyond DC presents a short animation showing sprawl spreading across northern Virginia. WABA reports that federal officials have withdrawn some dubious claims about bike helmet safety. And Better Institutions says construction jobs are not a good justification for infrastructure projects.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Philadelphia Demands More Than ‘Flex-Post’ Protected Bike Lanes After Motorist Kills Cyclist

Pediatric oncologist Barbara Friedes was struck while biking on a "protected" path. Now, advocates are arguing that flex posts should be replaced with something far better.

July 22, 2024

Monday’s Headlines Switch Tracks

President Joe Biden dropped out of the race Sunday and endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris. So what does this mean for transportation?

July 22, 2024

Friday’s Headlines Go Back to the Future

If you liked the first Trump administration's transportation policies, you're going to love the second Trump administration's transportation policies.

July 19, 2024

Advocates Share What It Takes to Fight Highway Expansions in Court 

What does it take to sue your state DOT? Time, money, the right partners, and a little creativity, a recent survey of activists found.

July 19, 2024

Friday Video: Paris Does it Again

Come for the bike-friendly streets, but stay for adopt-a-tree program and all the car-free school roadways.

July 19, 2024
See all posts