Walkability Wins Part Twenty-Seven: Political Pathway Towards Progress

A new roundup of Walkability Wins. This week we’re showcasing the movement by highlighting more places across the country advancing pedestrian-friendly agendas.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Minneapolis City Council approved a $595,000 budget for sidewalk snow removal in high-traffic areas and non-shoveling residents. Accessibility advocates and one of our partners, José Antonio Zayas Cabán of Our Streets Minneapolis, welcomed this initiative as a progressive step for mobility-impaired individuals, businesses, and environmental sustainability. This budget is seen as a significant move towards inclusivity and addressing transit dependency, especially for the elderly and disabled. The program, promoting equity and reducing carbon emissions, is set to start in fall 2024.

Richmond, Virginia

Virginia is set to enhance rail connectivity with a $1.7 billion federal grant, focusing on improving and speeding up train services between Washington D.C., Richmond, and Raleigh. This initiative, aiming for nearly hourly services by 2030, also includes plans to extend connections to Charlottesville and other key regions.

Seattle, Washington

The Seattle City Council has passed a law requiring the integration of sidewalk construction and repair into city paving projects, addressing a significant infrastructure issue in a city where thousands of blocks lack sidewalks and nearly half of the existing ones need repairs. The bill, sponsored by Councilmember Tammy Morales, doesn’t allocate specific funding but mandates the Seattle Department of Transportation to include sidewalk work in road paving budgets. 

Chicago, Illinois

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that cyclists and pedestrians hit by uninsured or hit-and-run drivers are eligible for uninsured motorist coverage under their insurance. This decision overturns a policy that required individuals to be in an insured vehicle to claim coverage. This follows a case by a teenager injured while cycling. The ruling aligns with the Illinois Insurance Code and broadens protection for non-vehicular road users, setting a significant precedent for insurance coverage in the state.

New York City, NY

In response to a letter from thirty advocacy groups calling for action after the deaths of two young children, Mayor Eric Adams unveiled a plan to protect pedestrians from drivers. The plan will remove parking spots in 1,000 NYC intersections to improve visibility, a technique known as “daylighting.” In addition, the plan includes tracking traffic deaths in NYPD’s CompStat data and expanding the pilot program intelligent speed assistance in about 1,500 city vehicles to stop drivers from exceeding the speed limit.

To catch up on previous installments of Walkability Wins, visit our blog. Have a win? Send it to us: social@americawalks.org.