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 Are Still Unsafe

Traffic deaths are declining for those ensconced in thousands of pounds of steel. For the rest of us, not so much.

April 12, 2024

Measure HLA Is Now Officially Law for L.A. City

Check the city maps to find what bus, bike, and walk improvements are coming to streets in your neighborhood.

April 12, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: Women’s Transportation Seminar

Sara Stickler of WTS International on women’s expertise in transportation and opportunities for mentorship, leadership and education.

April 11, 2024

Don’t Call Thursday’s Headlines a Comeback

Transit ridership isn't all the way back yet, but it continues to climb after collapsing during COVID. Unfortunately, the financial effects of the pandemic on transit agencies still linger.

April 11, 2024

Long-Awaited Report Reveals Widespread Parking Crime by NYPD

The overdue report confirms years of Streetsblog reporting on placard abuse, illegal parking and enforcement failures by the police under two mayors.

April 11, 2024
See all posts