The rise of the automobile pushed pedestrians to the side, and modern roads often deny them a place to walk altogether. “American society has so normalized our inferior sidewalk system that we don’t believe we deserve a place to walk.”
Meanwhile, a supposed “walking revolution” hasn’t materialized, despite Complete Streets redesigns and campaigns to promote walking. “In 2016, Americans drove more miles than they have in any other year in history.”
Frustratingly, says Walker, pedestrian improvements are now often perceived as a sign of gentrification. “Yet clean, safe, unbroken sidewalks have become such a rarity in this country that designing an area where people can get around primarily by walking—the one mode of transportation that is available and accessible to everyone—is now seen as a harbinger of displacement.”
New Jersey does not have a safe passing law, says Cyndi Steiner of NJ Bike & Walk Coalition. “…thanks to one lawmaker who seems uninterested in understanding the larger picture of pedestrian and bicycle injuries and fatalities, and rules of the road. Senator Nicholas Sacco (D-32), who is also the mayor of North Bergen, chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, and refuses to even allow the committee to discuss the proposed bill despite tremendous support throughout the state for such protection.”
Infographics to explain the benefits of walkablity. Use these to explain what’s happening in Asbury Park!
48% of survey respondents said they prefer to live in communities with small houses and yards but within walking distance to the community’s amenities. Learn how walkable urban places are having a comeback moment.
Kristin Jeffers: Design, Urban Planning, Architecture, and Life as a Black Woman in the Modern World.
Hello, I’m Kristen Jeffers.
I write about place. I love great places. I am Black. I am Urban. I am an Urbanist.
“I grew up and into a love of architecture, streets, trees, buses, trains and lots of other things in the environment. Now I bring this to you in a format that is straightforward about who I am, a black urbanist, a young woman of African-American descent who likes all things built environment, especially when it comes to cities.”
“I’m a firm believer that transportation is one place where equity can and should be had. At the end of the day, a street is a street, we all have to use them and their presence should not be the signal of gentrification you worry about. It should be the one you champion to get you to where you need to go. Hence why I’m here advocating for what some call complete streets, others call road diets and yet others call road gentrification.”
The author/blogger bio:
Kristen E. Jeffers is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Black Urbanist, author of A Black Urbanist (second edition forthcoming), creator of the public speaking course Plan to Speak and 1/2 of the podcast Third Wave Urbanism, as well as a freelance writer, urban planner and advocate. She holds a Master of Public Affairs focused on community and economic development from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, and a Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in public relations from North Carolina State University.
Amy Levner, a vice president at KaBOOM!, the U.S. nonprofit that works to provide community-designed play spaces for children living in poverty, said the narrative of child-friendly cities has intensified in the past year, and a recent report on the subject from London-based design firm Arup has furthered the conversation. “The fact that the work came out of a major, multinational firm is exciting,” she said. “It’s not just coming from academics or policymakers, so it’s reaching a different, broader audience.”
So what does designing a city around kids mean? The Arup report’s authors are clear that it’s not just about building more playgrounds, however important such spaces are and will continue to be. The report focuses on two main aspects of design: everyday freedoms and children’s infrastructure.
Everyday freedoms refer to children’s ability to travel safely on foot or bike and without an adult in their neighborhood—to school, to a rec center, to a park. The “popsicle test,” in which a child can walk from their home to a store, buy a popsicle, and return home before it melts, is one way to measure this ability. Children’s infrastructure means the network of spaces and streets that can make a city child-friendly and encourage these everyday freedoms.
How can your city become more livable? Make it walkable! Become a member of Strong Towns and register for a Conversation with Jeff Speck.
A Conversation With Jeff Speck
Jeff Speck is a nationally-recognized expert on building walk-friendly, people-oriented places. His book, Walkable City, is beloved by planners, leaders and residents of cities big and small; and his planning firm, Speck & Associates, works in communities across the country.
This exclusive webcast is available to all Strong Towns members. Become a member today and you will receive a registration link via email.
Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition has been invited to participate in the NJBWC Summit and receive Local Advocate of the Year Award!
And APCSC will host the first Jersey Shore Complete Streets Workshop sessions!
Our breakout sessions will focus on transportation topics that are common to shore towns: connecting transit to the beach, bike routes and pedestrian connections between towns, bike share, seasonal traffic issues (parking, speeding and congestion).
Register today for the 9th Annual NJ Bike & Walk Summit, which will be held on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at The Conference Center of Mercer County Community College in West Windsor.
NYC has adopted Vision Zero, started in Sweden, and now a global tool kit. NJ’s program “Toward Zero Deaths” has not been effective, although it implements some of the strategies of VZ.
NJBWC executive director, Cyndi Steiner: “Shooting for just a reduction in traffic deaths continues the current thinking that there is a certain number of traffic deaths that is an acceptable number,” she said. “To us, the only acceptable number is zero.”“
“Some pedestrian advocates said Vision Zero is a better alternative. Toward Zero Deaths has a goal to reduce deaths by 2.5 percent, which by 2030, is only a 30 percent drop in traffic fatalities, said Cyndi Steiner, New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition executive director.
“That is a far cry from NYC’s goal of zero deaths by 2024 and Philadelphia’s goal of zero deaths by 2030,” she said. “New Jersey needs a Vision Zero policy because the state continues to rank at the top or near the top in the nation in the percentage of road deaths that occur to pedestrians and bike riders.”
Superbowl car ads. They’re all pretty much the same, and it’s constant theme of car companies: Your car will make you feel younger, sexier, stronger, more in tune with the world around you…but the truth is driving your car will not make you feel anything much except stress while you navigate traffic (btw YOU are traffic), driving “defensively”, and trying to get to your destination as quickly as possible.
“The pitches have to register on an emotional level to hide the fact that, as Dan Savage wrote a few years ago, “Driving is just sitting on your ass.” So they show us breathtaking views of mountain ranges, not the everyday experience of sitting in traffic, listening to other people in cars honk their horns.”
“…how many people can say their SUV made them a more empathetic person?”
Asbury Park is not unique in trying to solve the parking dilemma–residents and visitors complain continually about the lack of availablility. Understanding it in a new way will help. Rethinking parking:
“…vehicle parking is so ubiquitous that it is generally invisible, like water is to fish. Most people have no idea of the economic, social and environmental costs caused by the pursuit of convenient parking. So, to put these impacts into perspective here are some fun facts that you can use to communicate the cost, waste and inequity of current parking planning practices.”
Parking requirements are the dark matter of the urban universe: they affect transport and land use in mysterious ways. These fun facts illustrate the costs and impacts of economically excessive parking supply.
WHAT DO CURRENT PARKING POLICIES INDICATE ABOUT COMMUNITY PRIORTIES?
Despite problems with homelessness and housing inaffordability, no communities have laws that guarantee free housing for people, but nearly all jurisdictions have laws that mandate abundant, and usually free housing for vehicles, in the form of unpriced on-street parking and off-street parking requirements in zoning codes. These policies conflict: the more parking spaces we require for residential development, the fewer housing units that can be built in a given area, and the less affordable housing will be.