January 8, 2005

Redesigning For Walkability

This is DEFINITELY worth a read: an interview with Walkable Communities founder Dan Burden, who explains how it's possible to design so that vehicles and pedestrians share space more effectively, benefiting everyone (Michigan Land Use Institute)

"It’s not that Mr. Burden dislikes cars," the article notes. "It’s just that he is certain that the quality of life improves if people don’t spend so much time sitting in them. . . .

"The answer to traffic congestion in most towns isn’t making roads wider, says Mr. Burden. Just the opposite: Roads need to be put on a 'diet.' Taking lanes away slows traffic but, surprisingly, the road then actually carries more vehicles more efficiently. Mr. Burden has other traffic remedies, such as shrinking intersections, constructing roundabouts, building boulevards with divided medians, and designing places where people can walk, bike, and ride public transit."

"What we are finding is the original streets, the original cores of our cities, pre-auto, were dynamite. It was the right pattern," Burden says.

There's a lot of interesting information in here about the projects Burden has worked on, such as "how to redesign a suburban mall into a true village, with real plazas, an appropriate series of stores that are the right size, right scale. " Oh, if only he'd been brought in for the Natick Mall expansion....

You can also see Burden's 12 points on what makes a walkable community, on his organization's Web site.

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