Google “SUV” and “biggest” and you’ll be led to a slew of articles, all praising how much space is offered by the largest models out there.
Ford, GM and Jeep all offer models more than 220 inches long. Many models offer ground clearances of 10 inches or higher. And some weigh more than 6,000 pounds.
And, electric vehicles are bigger and heavier than their gas-guzzling cousins, too.
As these vehicles are legal to be on our roads, it leaves cities with some weighty questions (see what I did there?). Do we need to protect drivers and pedestrians from the size and weight of modern vehicles?
It was a topic of discussion at City Council this week — and it came out of a discussion on how to better protect pedestrians.
Coun. Andrew Knack introduced a motion that would direct City administration to investigate a plan that could change the rules around sidewalk construction. If a road is reconstructed, a multi-use trail will be constructed alongside, instead of a sidewalk. It called for more raised crosswalks where main streets intersect with entrances into residential communities, and for raised crossings at alley entrances.
“It sends a reminder that I am going into a residential community, so I have to drive more responsibly,” said Knack.
These are all ideas that could protect pedestrians and cyclists.
“We’re missing out on a lot of opportunities that cost us far more to fix afterwards than if we actually did it right the first time,” said Knack.
Council unanimously supported sending this proposal to administration, which will consult the public and investigate the feasibility of the plan. It will be brought back to council in September.