Why Growing Older in DC Doesn’t Have to Mean Moving Out

Of course, there is no place like home. But when you’re an elderly resident of the District, sometimes it seems that there is no place to go without significant barriers. Senior citizens make up 11% of Washington DC’s population. And living in a city that requires mobility to take advantage of brings more challenges with advanced age. To keep the capital amenable to the elderly while on the go, it seems necessary to focus on three things: pedestrian safety, public transit, and alternative transit options.

These three areas all relate to aging in place, so that people can stay in their established neighborhoods.

Along the lines of pedestrian safety, the Coalition for Smarter Growth provided some important insights on getting around without relying on a car. One such finding was the importance of extending the amount of time on crosswalks.

For public transit, the point was stressed to ensure that Metro stops should reside less than .25 miles from the home. Ensuring that signage is clearer, and that Metrobus stops are fully accessible (currently only 31% are, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act).

Alternative transit options, for seniors that need more assistance to get around, also need to be clearer. The District needs to provide more and easier ways to access services such as volunteer drivers and and 1-call-1-click service.

In the end, we all hope that we won’t have to worry about how to get to our destinations. And with some help, that will become more of a reality.

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