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Walkability 101

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .


The ways to make a place walkable seem obvious to me after years of reporting on city issues and smart growth, but whenever you think that something you know backward and forward is obvious to others, you might pass up the chance to share what actually isn’t obvious to others.

So, my post today is a portal to an article by Kaid Benfield in The Atlantic Cities that refers to Jeff Speck’s new book “Walkable City.”

Headlined “The Big Fix: 10 Techniques for Making Cities More Walkable,” the article elaborates on how city planning of the past has left many cities congested and parts of them undesirable.

Most of the 10 techniques, Benfield writes, “have something to do with redressing the deleterious effects caused by our allowing cars to dominate urban spaces for decades. It’s a heck of a good menu to get city leaders and thinkers started in making their communities more hospitable to walkers.”

The list begins with an indictment of traffic studies that lead to more accommodation of cars. It calls for a mix of attractions within walking distance; parking requirements that do not, among other things, discourage adapting historic properties (which often don’t have adequate space for modern zoning parking minimums); supporting transit; pedestrian safety measures; adapting space for safe bicycling; creating good design; planting trees; inspiring people with the street appeal of interesting facades, and focusing on short corridors to connect neighborhoods.

Read the entire article here.

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