Today’s Dr. Gridlock column in the Post discusses the term “jaywalking,” which reinforces the idea that streets are for cars and not people.

“The street a hundred years ago was a place where anyone could go if they didn’t make a nuisance or get in someone’s way,” said [Peter D.] Norton, a faculty member at the University of Virginia.

But the pejorative term for pedestrians that he found in a 1909 Chicago Tribune had become popular by the 1920s, thanks to auto advocates, who among other tactics got Boy Scouts to hand out cards asking pedestrians, “Did you know you were jaywalking?”


I’m buying Norton’s new book, The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City.

Tagged: pedestrians

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.