October 29, 2006

Major Study Outlines How Toronto Can Be More Pedestrian and Bike Friendly

“Toronto is just starting to exchange its ‘car is king’ model for a more mixed mobility culture that includes pedestrianism,” the University of Toronto's Paul Hess, a geography professor, tells the school's news service. However, “So far, pedestrian issues have been left largely unaddressed by existing planning mechanisms.”

Hess co-authored a recently released study, Toronto Streets Report, investigating why road engineering "has such a powerful effect on how Toronto manages its streets while pedestrianism has so little." The conclusion, which I'm sure applies to many other communities as well:
"Toronto is talking about a new vision for its streets but the tools to achieve it are missing. The new vision wants more people out of their cars, on public transit, on foot and bikes. But almost all the institutional mechanisms for making and changing streets in light of those ideals are geared to an older vision, one primarily oriented toward moving cars, not to the new ones. There is little money to work with so creative solutions are needed."

Among the study's recommendations: The city needs a process to "work on the trade-off problem [between goals of moving as much vehicular traffic as possible and making streets more appealing for walkers, cyclists and public transit users] right away" and investigate how to work toward "equity" in designing and maintaining streets.

The study is worth a browse by any planning official who wants to work toward more bike- and pedestrian-friendly streets Until core design and maintenance processes change and planners take a hard look at competing goals, true pedestrian-appealing streetscapes will remain elusive.

1 comment:

  1. I'd love a bicycling study to take place for the city of Boston. We need it.