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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Atlantic Cities Book Review - Walkable City

The Atlantic Cities has an excellent book review on the book Walkable City by Jeff Speck. Numerous other outlets have also reviewed the book. In short, the 10 pieces of walkability are as follows (quoted from the review):

  1. Put cars in their place - design cities around people, not cars.
  2. Mix the uses - mixed use development shortens trip lengths, making them feasible.
  3. Get the parking right - we often have excessive parking requirements, as well as underpriced parking.
  4. Let transit work - have transit go to the busiest areas, and go to the mixed use areas. Aim for 10 minute headways.
  5. Protect the pedestrian - have streets (two-way over one way) that favor slower travel. Parallel parking can "shield" pedestrians from automobile traffic.
  6. Welcome bikes - bikes can calm traffic, benefitting pedestrians and cyclists themselves.
  7. Shape the spaces - make the environment comfortable for walking.
  8. Plant trees
  9. Make friendly and unique [building] faces - have buildings and storefronts that people want to look at.
  10. Pick your winners - with limited resources, it's important to spend such on what makes the greatest differences.

The review's author then goes into some more detail about areas of disagreement such as the pros and cons of pedestrian-only zones, the desirability of green space, and the like. Parking and congestion pricing is tricky, in that newly revitalized downtowns should seek to welcome people coming in and visiting. Regardless, the book promises to be an interesting read.

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