Sound familiar? How are the sidewalks in your neighborhood? This may have been a light recent snow fall, but it’s still January and we could see much more before winter is over. Cities all over the US and beyond (Canada here) grapple with the same issue. We can learn from what other cities do.
“Getting around the city in winter is “frustrating and difficult at best” for people with mobility problems, said Sharon Giles, who sits on the Grand River Accessibility committee. “Your neighbour may have shovelled just fine, and the neighbour three doors down may have also done a good job, but the two homes in between have not done their duty and you are not able to safely get where you need to go.”
Small cities can learn from successes in large cities.
The Transit Village @inAsburyParkNJ can be designed to calm traffic and be walkable and bikeable. A true neighborhood district focuses on pedestrians getting around – walking and bicycling – and doesn’t just cater to cars and parking.
“Why is improving walking access to transit important? As our research has found, the easier it is for people to walk to transit, the more likely they are to use it in their daily life.
With this in mind, LA Metro developed their “First Last Mile Strategic Plan.” It’s a menu of street treatments that can be used by Metro and municipalities to improve walking and biking conditions near transit.”
Few transit agencies invest in street infrastructure around bus stops and stations. Historically, they’ve subsidized car trips to transit by constructing costly park and rides, but haven’t taken on the jurisdictional issues that might come when it comes to improving streets around stations for pedestrians and cyclists.”
It doesn’t have to take a lot of money, years of planning and community outreach to make streets safer right now.
Say it with me: Leading pedestrian intervals.
“To rebuild a street with safety in mind, there are a few basic principles—narrow lanes for cars, wide sidewalks for pedestrians, and protected pathways for cyclists.
It’s not rocket science, but it is expensive. In downtown San Francisco, an effort to build a raised bike path and special bus boarding islands along one mile of Second Street—which is part of the city’s “high-injury corridor”—is pegged at $20 million. And, as with most public projects, years of planning, community outreach, and political fanfare have preceded the start of construction itself.”
“The value of a life may transcend any dollar figure. But at least one traffic intervention can save lives, at low cost and little time: That’s “leading pedestrian intervals,” or LPIs. In traffic-engineering-speak, these are streetlights that give walkers a head-start before cars venture into an intersection. Given even a few seconds of priority, most people wind up at least halfway into the crosswalk—where they’re plenty visible to drivers—before cars are allowed to go straight or make turns (including the ultra-dangerous left).”
Leading Pedestrian Interval
Asbury Park is in planning and development to create “people oriented” streets (this post is for the few business owners on Main Street who worry that fast-moving cars are better for business than slower speeds, and improved bikability and walkability) because “…not only because they’re safer or because they enable people to get around affordably without a car. It’s also — and chiefly — because they are more economically productive.”
“A WORD OF CAUTION
If there’s one thing you should take away from this discussion of walkable streets, it’s the necessity of narrowing many of our roadways (items 1 and 2 on our checklists). The other features mentioned above — on-street parking, sufficient sidewalks etc. — are all fairly meaningless if you don’t have narrow streets. It can actually be harmful to invest in these sorts of features if you don’t also narrow the streets around them, because you’re sending the mixed message to people that a) they should walk there, but b) it won’t actually be safe for them to do so because cars will be driving too fast. Not to mention it’s a waste of municipal funding to build a beautiful new sidewalk that no one is actually going to use because it’s dangerous and unpleasant.”
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
So why does building people-oriented streets instead of only car-oriented streets matter? It’s not only because they’re safer or because they enable people to get around affordably without a car. It’s also — and chiefly — because they are more economically productive. They encourage local business activity, produce more tax value per acre and offer a better return on infrastructure investment. Learn more about why walkable streets are more economically productive.”
Asbury Park is working on making streets safer throughout the city, particularly on Main Street. Within the next two years we’ll see better infrastructure and vastly improved walkablity.
PEOPLE-ORIENTED STREETS ENCOURAGE BUSINESS ACTIVITY
Streets where walking is safe and easy are streets where businesses usually thrive. A number of studies have confirmed this over the last several years.
ASBURY PARK BIKE/PED PLAN:
Asbury Park Plan for Walking and Biking
‘GREETINGS FROM ASBURY PARK’ SEMINAR HIGHLIGHTS CITY’S STRATEGIC WEST SIDE REVITALIZATION PLAN
“This is a great opportunity to highlight to professionals and policy makers throughout the state what makes Asbury Park special and the work we are doing to ensure we have healthy communities,” the City’s Director of Planning and Redevelopment Michele Alonso said.”
“The seminar will spotlight the “One City. Asbury Park.” (http://apcompletestreets.org/one-city-one-asbury-park) initiative outlined in the Choice Neighborhoods Plan, which aims to revitalize the city’s largest, but most economically challenged, residential neighborhood into a place of opportunity and economic growth.”
“Alonso said the plan outlines a set of comprehensive directives that address the needs of residents beyond just new housing.”
“This community driven plan aims to revitalize the West Side without displacement and gentrification, and looks forward to a future filled with mixed-income housing, safe streets, economic opportunities, thriving students, and healthy families,” she said.
Asbury Park is perfectly situated to be a people-centric community–it’s built in to our existing design! At a little over a mile square, and with a developing and reconfigured Main Street, plus schools within walking distance within the city, we are set to be a model of what can be done with a small American city,. We’ll join the most vibrant cities of Europe and forward-thinking cities in the US.
“Despite the lack of any substantial off-street parking, the sidewalks are alive and well with full storefronts and a steady stream of foot traffic. Unlike most commercial corridors, Millbrook embraces the kind of human-scale development often prohibited by local zoning in spite of nearly ubiquitous demand.”
“With the proliferation of form-based codes and rejection of parking minimums gaining steam, it’s clear there is demand for change. Towns seeking to become economically resilient and differentiate themselves as more than another series of congested strip malls and subdivisions can look to Millbrook as a model.
While Millbrook highlights the importance of mixed-use zoning and engaging with community assets, it also serves as a powerful reminder that great communities come in all sizes. Every town has the ability to counter the tradition of suburban development and embrace a new era of building great communities.”
There are a lot of Streetfilms resources for anyone who wants to get better bike lanes in their city!
START WITH A CORE OF DEDICATED VOLUNTEERS/COMMUNITY MEMBERS: You simply can’t do it without some very motivated people in your city wanting to help manage and motivate your neighbors (and eventually push back against the sure to come NIMBY naysayers) The video below shows how it is done.
Read and see more…
So much to unpack in this fascinating and enlightening article. Worth an in-depth read!
The word “petextrian” is a preemptive attempt by automakers and their allies to invent a menace that’s a worthy successor to the jaywalker of a century ago.
Traffic crashes are the thirteenth most common cause of death in the United States, and the single leading cause of death for people aged eight to twenty-four. As with health care and gun violence, our record on road safety is now among the worst in the developed world, and it’s getting worse
“Everything we know from countries that have successfully reduced road deaths indicates that the most effective approach is to systematically redesign streets to prioritize safety over speed. The growing moral panic over being wired while walking takes none of this into account. Instead, Americans are increasingly being told that the solution is an arbitrary, punitive approach that has little evidence to back it up.
“Distracted pedestrian” laws aren’t really about the evidence, though. They are about maintaining the privileges of car culture as that culture is about to confront an enormous shift in the balance of civic and technological power—one that threatens to permanently upend the relationship between drivers and pedestrians.”