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

Making Urban Cemeteries More Urban

Urban cemeteries often have limited public access. Image: Google Maps via Streets.mn
Urban cemeteries often have limited public access. Image: Google Maps via Streets.mn
false

Should urban cemeteries be more accessible to the public? Alex Cecchini at Streets.mn thinks so.

Cecchini points out that many city cemeteries are fenced off save for a single entrance point, effectively disrupting the street grid more than any superblock. A graveyard in his Minneapolis neighborhood, for instance, allows motorists to drive through but requires cyclists to lock their bikes at the gate.

"I’m not advocating cemeteries remove all the fences along their edges and erect playgrounds for kids on their property," says Cecchini, "but it would be nice to be a bit more welcoming to neighbors."

Compare the number of official path entrances at most cemeteries to any public park with a similar size/surface area ratio, and then remember that without fences neighbors can enter a park at any point they please. As a result, even on a gorgeous spring day where hundreds, maybe thousands of folks were out walking and using the Minneapolis park system, Lakewood Cemetery was completely devoid of activity. Beyond failing at actually inducing people to quietly reflect, cemeteries become barriers to simply getting around the city on foot or bike.

I get it. Cemeteries aren’t usually public property and they also have the right to restrict the type of uses going on inside. I don’t think it would be appropriate to play a pickup game of frisbee or hoops among the dead. Yet as non-profits who don’t pay property taxes on enormous plots of valuable city land, cemeteries should be open to public input asking for better interaction while still respecting the nature of what they provide.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Mike's Bogota Bike Blog says the Colombian capital is losing bike mode-share, and Greater Greater Washington notes that if cities don’t take cycling infrastructure seriously, motorists won’t either.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Friday’s Headlines Depend on How You Phrase It

How to reduce emissions through taxes is pretty clear, but to sell it to the public, you can't make lower-income people pay.

May 24, 2024

Register Your Bike. It’s Easy, It’s Free, and It Helps Everyone

Bike Index, a free national bike registry, just launched an iOS app to make it even easier.

May 23, 2024

No Driver, Mo’ Problems: Advocates Demand AV Regulations

And federal probes into self-driving vehicles after crashes and fires are not making a great case for the future of autonomous vehicles.

Thursday’s Headlines Need a Hero

Who will save transit now that federal COVID funds are running out? The New York Times investigates.

May 23, 2024
See all posts