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Is Monterey Blvd. A Woman Friendly Street?

“In 1999, officials in Vienna handed out a questionnaire about how people in the city used transportation. The men filled it out in five minutes: go to work in the morning, come home at night. The women couldn’t stop writing.

The things they wrote were about dropping the kids off at school on the way to work, or taking them to the doctor some mornings, or helping their own aging parents buy groceries, or picking the kids up from activities.

It was an extremely more varied pattern of use—with far more walking and public transport—and one that resulted in several changes to the city’s infrastructure: easier access to public transport, wider pavements, ramps for pushchairs and buggies. This thinking is part of a movement called gender mainstreaming—assessing how planning and policy decisions will specifically affect both women and men.”

 

I read this today in an interesting article about designing streets and transportation for the people who use them most. It got me thinking about how I feel about Monterey Blvd. when I am walking on it. When I was still pushing strollers around the neighborhood I was driven crazy by the cracks and ruts and slanting sidewalks that made it nearly impossible; a feeling I revisited when my husband crushed his foot in a motorcycle accident and was forced to get around on one of those knee scooters they give out now . This street is not knee scooter friendly (or walker, or wheelchair, or blind cane…). I am especially reminded of how unfriendly Monterey Blvd. can be to pedestrians, and especially women, at night when I am walking alone; the dark doorways and staircases, the poor street lighting, the narrow sidewalks flanked by car doors and bushes, the giant cracks to trip on, the cars blocking the sidewalk that force me either into the street or someone’s doorway to get through… I find myself thinking of the time I was mugged for my camera on my own block by a gang that used our freeway offramp and unobstructed street to target victims and get away quick in a rented/stolen car.

Monterey Blvd. doesn’t feel like a place designed for people, at least not to me. What do you think? If you are woman, do you feel safe walking MB alone at night? Is it easily navigable with a stroller? Do you feel safe walking your children along the boulevard? Read the article and leave some of your  thoughts and ideas in the comments here!

 

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