America’s walkable neighborhoods are both wealthier and more highly educated. This report takes a close look at the effects of walkable places on the wealth and equity of metros.
Earlier this month, Hartford unanimously approved its first major zoning overhaul since 1969.
The initiative, known as ZoneHartford, has been in the works for two years, and its formal
adoption marks a shift in the city’s priorities toward more walkable, bike-friendly neighborhoods. ZoneHartford emphasizes form-based code to preserve neighborhood character and includes best practices for complete streets. These practices, including required pedestrian refuges for longer crossings and curb extensions on busier streets, are designed to encourage walking within Hartford while improving driver visibility and pedestrian safety.
This is a major paradigm shift, a fundamental change in the way problems are defined and potential solutions evaluated, from automobile-oriented to multimodal. Complete Streets planning has been widely embraced by North American professional organizations such as the Institute of Transportation Engineers, but is not as well established in developing countries, at least, not yet. Delhi, India’s new plan to redesign ten major city roads to favor walking, cycling and public transit over automobile travel is very good news. It shows that the Complete Streets concept is making inroads in India and other Asian countries. This is a huge change and an important opportunity for improving the safety and livabilty of all residents, particularly lower-income people who walk and bike. I hope this project is successful and becomes an example for other cities in India and around the world.
Universally Designed cities need to be walkable cities, where pedestrians can easily and safely access goods, services and social actives. Unfortunately, many cities were not designed this way. The Hindu, an Indian newspaper has launched a “Right to Walk” campaign in Chennai, a large city in the south of India, to address the city’s unsafe and inaccessible footpaths. High curbs and a lack of curb cuts are a common problem, but so are broken and missing pavement, manholes left open, cars parked on footpaths and other obstructions blocking the path of travel. These conditions make footpaths unsafe for people who are blind, inaccessible to those using mobility devices, and force pedestrians to walk on crowded roads, a dangerous practice that can lead to accidents. The paper covers these issues, and also encourages readers to send in pictures of problem areas, with the hope that the publicity will help motivate officials to address the problems. A slideshow of reader images shows that many problems where quickly resolved after being featured in the newspaper. This wonderful project could easily be replicated by other communities in order to push for safer, more accessible sidewalks and footpaths.
Over the last four years, New York City has seen a transportation renaissance on its streets, striking a better balance by providing more space for walking, biking, and transit.