Placemaking advocates meet public safety advocates

This blog post is going to be shorter than I had originally planned -- still recovering from a slight cold and took my free time Wednesday to record a new podcast on this same subject. 

This week we've focused on the issue of building Strong Towns in the face of resistance from fire fighting advocates that demand wide streets.

On Monday, the key observation was that we maintain wide, unsafe and expensive streets to accommodate fire departments that we can no longer afford to staff. If we want to keep our public safety systems intact, our places need to become more productive.

On Tuesday, we suggested that, instead of changing the built environment to accommodate the wide fire truck, perhaps we can simply modify the size of the truck. We provided a lot of examples of how fire fighters have applied ingenuity to solve more difficult problems throughout the years.

On Wednesday, we introduced the idea that other parts of the world -- places that have not adopted the American development pattern -- seem to do well (sometimes better) and could provide a model for us to learn from.

Today I want to point you in the direction of some places where solutions to this problem are being discussed intelligently. At the end of this week, I don't want any of our Strong Town advocates out there to be intimidated or out-maneuvered in the trenches by old school fire chiefs.

  • The Congress for the New Urbanism has a web page devoted to this effort.
  • CNU has also issued a 10-page report that provides background information and a good overview of efforts to resolve conflicts on this issue.
  • Blogger, planner and fire fighter Jeff Tyndall posted a link here on Monday to a piece he wrote in support of the CNU effort. This is great advocacy from someone working both sides of the discussion.

We're going to crowd source the rest of this piece. If there are resources specific to this topic, please email them to me or post a link in the comments section so that we can provide it to everyone.

If all goes well, I'll be back tomorrow with some thoughts on a Strong Towns approach.


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