start prioritizing people over vehicles

Decades ago, cities had more spaces and parks for people. Everyone could freely walk around and just enjoy everyday life. But as years passed and populations grew, our public spaces started to prioritize vehicles over people.


Now almost everybody owns a vehicle. With this massive influx, cities started to prioritize the needs of these vehicles with more roads, freeways, and vast parking lots. They abandoned the idea that the city is for the people. With fewer walkable sights to see and attractions surrounded by huge roadways and parking lots, our cities have become more polluted and stressful.

roadways and cars are health hazards

Prioritizing vehicles doesn’t just affect the physical aesthetic of the place, but also the environment and health of everyone who visits and lives in the city. More cars each day means more air pollution we create, more pollution means more health hazards. This kind of urbanization can lead to poorer health in city residents.

This doesn’t even mention the fact that thousands die every day in motor vehicle accidents. Many of us already know this fact but keep driving anyway. What would happen if cities prioritized the creation of beautiful, safe, and cleaner walkways that promoted walkability in our public spaces?

walkways improve health and economic benefits

The simple act of prioritizing walkways for people can add value to a city in wonderful ways. It not only makes residents healthier by promoting walking and biking, but cuts down the stress of city life. People spend less time in cars, stuck in traffic jams. They can find better social connections when out from behind the wheel and walking in appealing environments.

Plus, doing this can also help us boost the city’s economy by having great, safe, and clean scenery that tourists and residents love! Walkways in the city are something that has high demand in real estate. People are demanding more walkable spaces. It makes sense that adding walkways is a good investment for its city and its people.

The changes don’t have to be huge. They could be as simple as adding painted bike lanes in downtown areas or making sidewalks more accessible with curb cuts. Even adding trees can make roads more inviting for people. Cities can start small, taking into account their infrastructure needs and resources, but even small, grassroots effort will go a long way in prioritizing people over vehicles.

final thoughts

A city should be an ideal place for people to hang out and socialize. On many levels, this has been missing with the prioritization of vehicles. At this point, it’s an unfortunate fact that our modern society still needs vehicles, but we shouldn’t let them decide our entire environment and ways of life. We should always have places that promote good health, mind, and social life. We can start looking at small, creative ways to make changes to the places we live. Who knows what big changes we might see when we start to prioritize people over vehicles?

Don Hines | 314 N Higgins Ave, Missoula, MT 59802 | (406)203-7956 | don.hines@bhhsmt.com

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