Streets are for People

Katy Lang Tweet Us @walkarlington@walkarlington July 26, 2018

Katy Lang is the Program Manager for WalkArlington. She started living car-free in Arlington nine years ago and is passionate about finding great running routes and safety for people walking.

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Whether you’re a person walking, biking, riding, or driving, the street is for all of us.

Streets are for people—usually people moving, but also for people playing, exchanging goods, and socializing. Our transportation choices reflect that—sometimes we prioritize getting to a place quickly, so we drive or prioritize spending time with family, so we walk or we simply want to work up a bit of a sweat, so we bike.

With so many transportation options in Arlington, it’s likely that each of us has friends and family who travel a different way than we do, and we all must work together to safely share the streets with others. We aren’t defined by only one mode or one transportation option. We aren’t one-dimensional. Our streets shouldn’t be either.

Language Matters

There is a trend among transportation professionals to use clear language that is people-centric instead of mode-centric. For example, using “people walking” instead of pedestrians, or “people driving” instead of drivers. The language we use is important and identifying ourselves or each other by only the mode we choose opens the door for stereotypes, frustration, and dehumanization.

People Have Mobility Options

Given the recent influx of mobility options in the past few years, fewer and fewer people are relying solely on one kind of transportation to get around. It’s more important than ever to understand why someone might choose to get around a certain way one day and a different way the next. Categorizing a person as a cyclist, driver, or pedestrian ignores those decisions and prevents us from thinking about streets in a new way.

Recognizing that each of us use the street in some way and want it to be safer, whether we are people walking, biking, riding transit, or driving, gets us a step in the right direction. Our streets are for all of us.

Photo Credit:

Sam Kittner/

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