In this entertaining and informative talk on urban design Walkable City author Jeff Speck laments “the fact that we have eliminated the useful walk and the useful bike from our lives.” Luckily, increasing numbers of city planners throughout North America have started putting pedestrians and cyclists back into the picture. Brent Toderian, former Chief Planner for Vancouver, calls the 1997 decision to prioritize active modes of transport (with walking as top priority, then cycling, then public transit) “the most important urban design decision Vancouver ever made.” Thousands of Ottawans are following suit by advocating for a smart growth / complete streets approach to city planning.
Complete Streets for Canada provides policy guidelines, and a map of projects nationwide. A good source of information on the benefits of cycling and walking to health, the environment and the economy is the US-based Bike & Ped Advocacy Resource Library compiled by the Alliance for Biking & Walking. The lucid and beautifully-illustrated Urban Street Design Guide (available here in web form) shows how multimodal transport designs can be implemented. For related information visit the Slow Ottawa Stay Local page, listen to the interview with local green advocate David Chernushenko, or link to presentation-ready images on the Propel Yourself and Streets for Everyone Pinterest boards.
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