A pedestrian perspective.
SUPER-CONDENSED JEFF SPECK:
From earthtechling: Ten Walkability Steps to Know in Urban Planning.
My favourite: 4. Let transit work. (“While walkability benefits from good transit, good transit relies absolutely on walkability.”)
Jeff cites the disappointing experience of light rail in Dallas as an example of what not to do to support transit: insufficient residential densities, too much downtown parking, routes separated from the busiest areas, infrequent service, and a lack of mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods near the stops. Jeff recommends concentrating on those transit corridors that can be improved to support ten-minute headways, and working there to simultaneously improve both the transit and the urban fabric.
WHY WALKABLE CITIES ARE A STEP AHEAD
Given the audience in the GlobeAdvisor, Brent Toderian makes the appropriate argument:
…. the most cost-effective ways to keep cities moving are the simplest, says Brent Toderian, former chief planner for Vancouver and now head of Toderian Urban Works.
“The strongest arguments for making a city more walkable are financial. On a dollars and cents basis it’s the cheapest way to move people around. Even transit trips start and end with your feet,” he says.
Who says city rankings don’t matter? In 2009, the think tank Transportation for America released a report called “Dangerous by Design” [PDF], ranking the least pedestrian-friendly metro areas in the country. Raleigh, North Carolina, placed sixth—as in sixth most dangerous. News stations reported the story with video of a father hustling his daughter across a major arterial that lacks a crosswalk.
“That was a bit of an eye opener,” says Fleming El-Amin, a transportation planner with the city. “From that we said, maybe there’s something we needed to do about this.”
That something ended up becoming a draft Comprehensive Pedestrian Plan released by the city in October.