During a semester in Spain, I realized that an urban, walkable place need not imply high rise buildings, crazy traffic and overcrowded streets. Traditional development offers the convenience and productivity of urban living at a small-town pace.
Mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods have enduring appeal, are more financially productive than auto-oriented places… and we still don’t allow nearly enough of them to be built. A new study surveys the landscape of walkability in America’s large metropolitan regions.
Here are four ways that walking your dog—or a loaner pup from your local rescue group—can give you a unique insight into how your place can get a little more resilient.
Could it make sense to put the onus on pedestrians to ensure their own safety—in Honolulu’s case, by considering making it illegal to cross the street outside of a crosswalk after dark? Maybe, but only if we had a system that actually gave people on foot equal opportunity to get around safely and conveniently. We don’t.
Even in cities that tout their commitment to walkability, once it snows, those who walk (and roll!) often aren’t treated as equally important street users.
Learn to dispel the common myths you hear from transportation agencies with regard to safe streets. The guidance isn’t as sacred as they want you to believe.
3 dollars and cents arguments that definitively prove the need for people-oriented, walk-friendly places.
In places with heavy foot traffic, an unusual type of intersection just might be the key to keeping walkers and drivers alike safer and less stressed out.
Most cities’ zoning and development regulations obsess over things that are easy to measure, like building height and density, at the expense of the things that actually determine whether we’re building quality places.
Macon-Bibb County, Georgia, could address pedestrian safety by making real, substantial improvements to the design of its streets. Instead, it’s urging people on foot to… dress in brighter colors?
To assume that a street-forward, mixed use development will activate a lifeless area is like assuming that gardening is a matter of “just add water.” In reality, different urban environments—like different soils, climates, and plants—require different elements of care.
These campaigns are the kind of thing that large, out-of-touch bureaucracies do when they want to appear like they are doing something without actually changing anything about what they are doing.
Your town's streets are its vital organs. A great street can make a place, and a badly-designed street can kill a place. We want you to tell us about a street you love that makes your town a stronger, more resilient place.
Two large development projects currently working their way through the public engagement and approvals process illustrate why suburban retrofit is a really tough proposition to stake our future on.
Is it magical thinking to expect the transition from car-dependent to walkable places to happen organically? When, and how, do we need a catalyst to jump-start that process?
By overemphasizing vehicle Level of Service (LOS) we justify expensive, overbuilt streets that are dangerously inhospitable to people—just so drivers won’t be inconvenienced during peak travel times.
Walkability is a word urbanists throw around, often with different ideas as to what it really means, or why we care about it. Let’s take a look at how safety, distance, convenience, and comfort affect it.
One of the best ways to deeply understand the place you live is to slow down—way down—the way you get around it.
Our transportation system has solely focused on automobile traffic flow as its metric of success. For the sake of our economic and physical health, that needs to change.
When a neighborhood commercial street comes back to life, the whole city benefits.