"You either feel the pedestrian owns the street or the motorists own the street"
-- West Warwick Town Councilman Leo J. Costantino Jr, quoted in the Kent County Times after attending a Walkable Workshop.
Well said! When streets are designed only with automobiles in mind, even if sidewalks are installed as an afterthought (but with no effort to make the walking experience a pleasant one or even a safe one for people who are trying to cross the street), walking is a discouraged activity. And that means people end up taking their cars even from one strip mall to another, half a mile away or less -- distances that they wouldn't think twice about walking if they were on Commonweath Avenue or Newbury Street in Boston, Harvard Square in Cambridge and so on.
Costantino told the paper he expected to be "underwhelmed" by the event but "came away educated with a different awareness and a lot of ideas of different ways of accomplishing things."
We need better design and planning to liberate us from HAVING to use our cars to drive less than a mile!!!