As you remember from Walkability 101.1, walking isn’t just for exercise, right? Imagine burning calories on your:
Useful, Safe, Comfortable, Interesting walk, that just so happens to put you and other people first.
In Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time, Jeff Speck explains why communities that appropriately use walkability principles ooze excitement! But walkability doesn’t only work in large cities. It can happen in small town centers, too. Like we mentioned before, your walkable walk should be useful and
Safe| Protect the pedestrian.
If a sidewalk, crosswalk or area feels unsafe, it probably is. No matter the amount of sidewalks or retail space, you probably won’t walk around downtown if you constantly dodge cars. Curb bump-outs, pedestrian islands or street elements that provide buffers between people and cars enhance safety. Safety can also be improved by welcoming bikes. Bicyclist presence will help slow cars. And, bikeability means it may be less necessary to drive.
A number of other factors can determine a car’s speed such as lane width, visual cues and turning options. Consider a “road diet” with your community if drivers treat your main street like the Daytona 500. A road-diet can improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, increase downtown business and be the most cost-effective way to achieve street vibrancy.
Overall, more street activity creates cautious drivers. Pedestrian safety is key to a walkability transition, especially transition from an unvisited downtown to one “you’ve gotta visit.”
Is your community already walk and/or bike-friendly? Tell us about it! Stay tuned for more steps… until then, learn more with these resources: