US’s Aging Infrastructure Must Respond to Aging Population

We constantly read about America’s aging infrastructure.  According to the Atlantic Cities blog, not only is it aging, it needs to be reconfigured to serve that other rapidly aging piece of the American landscape–its human population:

Wchancee often talk colloquially about the “fast pace of city living,” and that pace actually has a default speed: We’ve long assumed that people cross the street walking at about 4 feet per second.

Crosswalks are timed with this number in mind, so you don’t get clipped by a creeping car when the red hand starts flashing at you midway through an intersection. But the older we get, the more likely we are to slow down. Most 80-year-olds just don’t move at 4 feet per second. . . .

. . . .As Richard Florida reminded us last week, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day between now and 2031. By then, one in five people living in America will be older than 65. Crosswalks are only one piece of a deep-rooted problem composed of many subtle environmental details most of us never even notice: Is there a park bench to catch your breath? How about a curb cut for your walker? The pace of city living feels entirely different when you need an extra beat to read a road sign, or when you don’t have a license to drive at all. Cities everywhere need to begin recalibrating for this moment now (a better crosswalk speed, for instance, would be closer to 3 feet per second). But this generational age bomb is also arriving at precisely the worst moment to pay for those changes that will actually cost money.

The full story is here.

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