In the United States our city streets are so auto-oriented that we rarely think of what the alternative could be. Consider the sidewalk. It is rarely continuous. If you are lucky enough to have sidewalks in your neighborhood, they are block-long segments, interrupted by the asphalt roadway. Every block, you cross through the the right of way of the autos to get to your next section of sidewalk. The law says that you, as the pedestrian, have the right of way. A car is supposed to yield to you. But everything about the physical environment says that the auto has the right of way. The road or street is a continuous flowing stream, while the sidewalk is chopped up into little segments. That’s just the way sidewalks are.
What if your city planners thought outside the “norm”? What if the sidewalk was a continuous stream, while the roadway was chopped into small segments? The above example is from Bogotá, Colombia. The pedestrian or cyclist continues through the intersection on a clear, smooth path—while the autos have to negotiate a ramp up and then down again. Visually and physically, it is the auto that is crossing the sidewalk, rather than the pedestrian crossing the street.
Believe me. It makes all the difference in the world. I’ll take the physical right of way over the legal right of way anytime.
Now THAT’S a sidewalk!