Addis Ababa can be a challenging place for pedestrians. Sidewalks are narrow, uneven, or obstructed–if they exist at all—and drivers often fail to yield to pedestrians. This state of affairs is not just inconvenient, it’s dangerous. Almost 500 people die in road crashes in the city per year, and more than 80 percent of these are pedestrians. This number is expected to increase along with vehicle ridership.
City officials have launched a number of initiatives to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities by half by 2023. One such initiative is the recently launched Safe Intersections Program (SIP) which will transform ten intersections per year over the next three years, making them safer and more efficient.
Sebategna intersection was the first to be transformed under the program. Located near Mercato, the largest market in Africa, Sebategna sees around 13,000 pedestrians each hour during peak times. In the past year, one pedestrian and one motorist have died at the intersection, while four people have been seriously injured.
The change has been dramatic. Locals love the added color, and immediately reported feeling safer at the intersection. Vendors who had previously sold their goods from sidewalks now have plenty of space in the newly created islands, leaving walkways open for pedestrians. The interim transformation will be in place for six months so that the city can collect data to inform the permanent redesign. A similar phased approach will be used for future transformations, the next of which is scheduled for early 2018.
The Safe Intersections Program builds off the experience from a previously-transformed LeGare intersection. LeGare was redesigned with interim materials in December 2016 and permanent reconstruction is currently under way.
My Way to School: Making kids’ journeys to school in Santiago, Chile, safer and more enjoyable
In 2019, the GDCI team selected the capital city of Santiago, Chile, as a Streets for Kids Technical Assistance project. Together with Ciudad Emergente, a Chilean nonprofit, we selected Enrique Soro street as the project site. The project’s main objectives were to establish safe intersections, extend sidewalks, and reduce speeds.
The Global Designing Cities Initiative is committed to reimagining streets as places for people, shaping cities that are healthy, accessible, and equitable for everyone. We also recognize cycling as a safe, efficient, and sustainable mode of transportation. Despite the lack of safe cycling infrastructure that hinders many would-be cyclists around the world from relying on their bikes, there are a number of cities that have made significant progress in recent years. Committed to making its streets more cycle-friendly, Quito, Ecuador, has implemented large-scale, successful cycling infrastructure projects that make it a cycling success story.
Sixty leaders, twenty cities, one focus: How to make better streets for kids
GDCI’s first-ever Streets for Kids Leadership Accelerator welcomed 60 professionals from 20 cities around the world, all working at the intersection of children’s wellbeing and transportation. This competitively selected group came together for twelve online sessions over a six months period for an intensive course in street design best practices. Perhaps most importantly, this was a unique opportunity for them to share ideas, questions, and strategies with each other. Here’s a look back at what went into this program.