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“Sneckdown” is a combination of “snow” and “neckdown,” also known as a curb extension (if you think “sneckdown” is silly, try “snurb extension.” A curb extension is a traffic calming device that extends the sidewalk further into the street, taking space away from cars and giving it back to those on foot. The idea isn’t to remove a lane of traffic, but to tighten the corner radius of the intersection. It’s the opposite of cutting corners.
To navigate a curb extension, drivers have to make turns that are closer to right angles, which means they have to slow down (the snow on the ground encourages slower speeds, too). “Minimizing turning speeds is crucial to pedestrian safety,” says the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ urban street design guide, since “corners are where drivers are most likely to encounter pedestrians crossing in the crosswalk.”
So why not do this in all our cities where we don’t want pedestrians to get mowed down? There’s a growing effort to make American cities more sensitive to pedestrian safety. New York, San Francisco, LA, Portland, Washington, DC, Boston, and other major cities have pledged to drastically reduce pedestrian deaths, and curb extensions are a proven tool for doing that. But even for cities that want to make that shift, changing the infrastructure of their streets isn’t so easy. […]