Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Walkable Cities

One of the important parameters of good cities are , whether they are walkable or is it a nightmare to walk. The Website walkscore gives the score for each city and lists out the following parameters. The Parameters are below.

Walkable Neighborhoods

Picture a walkable neighborhood. You lose weight each time you walk to the grocery store. You stumble home from last call without waiting for a cab. You spend less money on your car—or you don't own a car. When you shop, you support your local economy. You talk to your neighbors.

What makes a neighborhood walkable?

  • A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a discernable center, whether it's a shopping district, a main street, or a public space.
  • Density: The neighborhood is compact enough for local businesses to flourish and for public transportation to run frequently.
  • Mixed income, mixed use: Housing is provided for everyone who works in the neighborhood: young and old, singles and families, rich and poor. Businesses and residences are located near each other.
  • Parks and public space: There are plenty of public places to gather and play.
  • Pedestrian-centric design: Buildings are placed close to the street to cater to foot traffic, with parking lots relegated to the back.
  • Nearby schools and workplaces: Schools and workplaces are close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.

Streets Designed for Everyone

Complete Streets are roads are designed for everyone who uses them, including bicyclists, pedestrians of all ages and abilities, and people getting on and off transit vehicles. These streets are:

  • Accessible: There are wheelchair ramps, plenty of benches with shade, sidewalks on all streets, etc.
  • Well-connected: Streets form a connected grid that improves traffic by providing many routes to any destination.
  • Built for the right speed: Lanes are narrow or traffic calming is in place to control speed.
  • Comfortable: Pedestrian medians at intersections, count-down crosswalk timers, bicycle lanes, protected bus shelters, etc. make the street work better for those outside of a car.