Monday, February 22, 2016

SOS to WVN at BOW: "The truth is that a sidewalk is just the first step in meeting (pedestrian) needs."

Now THERE'S an idea; just don't expect it to occur to Team Gahan.

It would be very interesting to see New Albany's score for the walking environment. Until it is  compiled, this one can be filed under "More Things Warren Will Never, Ever Comprehend."

A sidewalk isn't enough, by Jon Larsen (Strong Towns)

For decades, we’ve convinced ourselves that a sidewalk is good enough -- that if we build a sidewalk, we’ve met the pedestrian’s needs. The truth is that a sidewalk is just the first step in meeting those needs.

When we build a sidewalk that is sandwiched between a 40 mph street and a parking lot, we invite humans into a world designed for fast-moving machines, and most people aren’t comfortable with such an awkward invitation. Humans are smart. We pick up on dozens of cues and hints from the world around us. We intuitively know if an environment is designed for walking or driving, but we often have a hard time explaining why. The good news is that we’re getting better at not only explaining why, but measuring why people choose to walk.

The things we measure tend to be the things we focus on, and the things we focus on tend to be the things we improve. For decades, traffic engineers have focused predominantly on measuring auto traffic. Traffic engineering has become a science in which traffic congestion is forecast with precision. There are standards which state that certain levels of congestion are unacceptable, creating the impetus for investment in wider, faster roads. Because delay can be measured and forecast, it’s easy to set standards and communicate how well the facility is performing relative to those standards.

Imagine if we could provide a score and standards for how attractive the walk environment is along a street. What if we scored the walkability of streets and flagged the blocks that are below an acceptable standard? We’d create the impetus for investment in the walkability of the street. We could also highlight blocks that score well so that others could use them as an example.

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