May 2, 2004

More Than Cars Need to Share the Road

Designing livable communities isn't "anti-car" -- it's about creating balance, so that multiple uses can reasonably share public space -- cars, pedestrians and bicyclists. And that has other benefits: creating destinations people enjoy being in, not just passing through.

"Anyone joining the burgeoning movement to make America more walkable soon discovers the key issue is not urban planning or transportation priorities but love," writes Jay Walljasper on AlterNet. "Places we love become places that we hang out, and those are always the best places for walking."

Unfortunately, most of 21st century America now designs exclusively for the automobile, perhaps tossing in some sidewalks that are actually difficult and unpleasant to use.

"Walking, in many ways, is still viewed as an exotic and slightly odd habit," Walljasper says. "Try this experiment some time at a party or other gathering: Announce that you are walking home. I'll bet you, two-to-one odds, that someone will offer a ride, even if you live just three blocks away and it's a sunny 80 degrees outside."

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