These first ring suburbs were built 30 to 40 years ago to accommodate the first wave of urbanites escaping the trappings of the inner cities, and they relied exclusively on the automobile to get around. Once hot growth spots, many of these communities have found themselves aging and declining, threatened by the pull of newer, farther out suburbs and gentrified inner cities.
The population of these communities is now made up of the low-income families (largely elderly and immigrants), many of whom cannot afford automobiles. Over the years, transit has been laid on top of these commuter corridors making them less safe. Kudos to organizations like PEDS and many others who are working tirelessly to make them less dangerous.