It Is Time To Go Beyond Transit And Get Multi-Modal Planning


Image by author Roger K. Lewis

In most of North America, we think that "Transit Oriented Development" is a great step forward over the auto-centric development of the last sixty years. Architect and Professor Roger K. Lewis suggests in the Washington Post that it is too simplistic a view, and that we have to think multi-modal. And that includes walking. He asks:

"How can we encourage and enable more walking? What will motivate people to change long-standing perceptions and deeply engrained behavior? We must plan and develop -- or redevelop -- metropolitan environments so walking becomes safe, comfortable, enjoyable and stimulating. This requires satisfying several design criteria: "

Street patterns must be easily navigable and latticelike, with blocks that are not too big and intersections that are not too far apart. Streets must be continuous and interconnected, providing motorists and pedestrians with more than one path for traveling to a destination.

He also suggests that streets be artfully proportioned, that there be lots of amenities, and it much be safe.

Look at cities such as New York, Boston, San Francisco, London, Paris and Barcelona. These cities have beautiful streets that encourage walking. Commuters in these cities happily walk 15 or 20 minutes from a subway or rail station, or from a parking garage, to their home, workplace or school. They don't hesitate to walk a half-mile to visit their favorite shop, cafe or friend.

Walking infrastructure is a lot cheaper than subways and buses. It is good for your health. It makes our cities lively and supports the businesses along the way. He is right; it is time to change our mindsets. More in the Washington Post

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