Basic safety improvements that would benefit all pedestrians, such as building sidewalks further from the street and adding lighting, crosswalks and signage intersections, could make shopping with toddlers and strollers is safer and less complicated. “Day light”—Which involves removing parking spaces near crosswalks to increase visibility — would eliminate the need to push strollers through streets to determine if it is safe to cross. The bipartite infrastructure bill, for its part, allocate funds to make public transport stations more accessible. Strollers will undoubtedly benefit from functional elevators; turnstiles wide enough for wheelchairs will also work for strollers.
But there is no guarantee that accessibility improvements and policies will automatically benefit young children. Many U.S. bus systems continue to ban open strollers, for example, and not too long ago, Boston considered doing the same on its subway. This is an embarrassing contrast to international cities that actively plan for caregivers. In Montreal, city buses have priority zones in advance for wheelchairs and open strollers.
So far, Los Angeles has been the rare American city to tackle these problems, albeit largely at an early stage. As in many places, LA’s rail and bus system was designed with men of 9 to 5 in mind. A 2019 study showed that it didn’t work for women, who make up most of the city’s bus and train users and use public transport differently. Women in Los Angeles typically travel with children while paying for more frequent and shorter trips – often making multiple stops for groceries – and tend to travel outside of rush hour, when public transit slows down. Women in LA are also more likely than men to take no transportation trips, which the researchers attributed to the cost, stress, and safety risks of using a transportation system that is not. not designed for them.
“We’ve learned that safety is a big part of the calculation women need to consider when traveling,” said Naria Kiani of Kounkuey Design Initiative, who conducted the study. Journal of the architect. “Because they make more trips than men for housework and care, this fear of safety is multiplied by public transport systems that ignore their unique needs. “