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Episode 38 of 176

A call for redesigning American streets

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September 6, 2018 — In this week’s podcast we’ll explore how America’s streets can be redesigned to benefit bicyclists and pedestrians—and we’ll explain why doing so may even help mitigate the effects of climate change.
A new study from Anne Lusk, research scientist in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, analyzed how bicyclists and pedestrians responded to various placements of trees along cycle tracks—barrier-protected bicycle-exclusive paths between the road and the sidewalk. The research shows that the placement of these trees can play an important role in how people walking and biking perceive traffic, pollution, heat, and even safety.
But the benefits extend beyond just those using the street—and could even be a factor in mitigating the effects of climate change. These trees may make it more likely that people will bike—helping to reduce pollution. And increased greenery can also help cool cities, which often suffer from a heat island effect, which means they’re significantly warmer than more rural areas. Lusk says all of this highlights the need to re-think how we’re designing streets to encourage more people to walk and bike instead of drive.
You can subscribe to Harvard Chan: This Week in Health by visiting iTunes or Google Play and you can listen to it by following us on Soundcloud, and stream it on the Stitcher app or on Spotify.