Monday, June 30, 2008

More pub for WalkScore

More articles about WalkScore (here, here, here, here, here and here), which we previously mentioned. Not only is this providing some nice pub for WalkScore, but it is helping to promote the positive aspects of measures to increase the walkability of neighborhoods throughout the country.

Friday, June 27, 2008

"Nobody Walks in Los Angeles"....because they can't!!!

Apparently the author fails to make the connection between the lack of ability to walk and use mass transit with a lack of desire to do so. Los Angeles, like most of the sunbelt, developed around the car. It does not have some special car-oriented focus that cities in Texas, Georgia, Florida, etc. don't have. The argument that transit won't work because people in L.A. don't walk is ridiculously short-sighted. People in L.A. don't walk because it is difficult, if not impossible, to do so. The same can be said for much of Atlanta, although the increased density in places like Midtown and Buckhead is making a walkable lifestyle possible. Give people the ability and option to walk, and they will do so.

The Challenge of Mixed Use

Lynn Vannucci's editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle examines the challenges of "new" mixed use developments, with primary focus on the town centers of Windsor and Santana Row in the Bay area. Nice discussion of the positives, as well as some of the limitations, of mixed use developments, along with a Jane Jacobs-esque argument on the merits of mixed use.

Park City cops jump in front of cars to promote pedestrian awareness

Nice campaign by the Park City, Utah cops to promote awareness of pedestrians and cyclists. And to hand out a few tickets.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

California to attempt to curb emissions, promote walkable communities

Of course, most of this proposal will likely never be enacted, but the state can and should promote the creation of walkable communities and invest in trasit-oriented infrastructure.

The Death of Suburbia

More calls for investment in transit rather than more and more roads.

Fuel prices forcing a retreat from exurbia back into the core

Interesting article from the NY Times focusing on many in the Denver area rethinking the idea of living in the far exurbs, primarily due to the high cost of transportation. The nice thing about walking to work is that it costs nothing. Many are now coming around to understand this concept. Of course, not everyone can walk to work, and there is a tradeoff between extra space and living closer to the city core. But, many are finding the balance shifting back to less space as the more attractive choice.

Scott Olin Schmidt on how to attain “Jeffersonian Urbanism”

Invest in mass transit!!!

Walk Score getting lots of press

Walk Score, a very cool site which calculates your “walk score” based upon your address and the amenities within walking distance, has been mentioned in several news outlets (here, here and here), primarly due to the high price of gas. Its a pretty neat tool that can be included on things such as realtor websites. Check it out.
FYI, since I live right in the middle of urban Buckhead, the walk score of my address is 89.

Walkability increasing housing values

Interesting post from the Smart Growth America blog noting a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the differences in housing sales between two suburban cities located almost next door. Walkable Hapeville has seen sales jump as a result of its attractive traditional neighborhood development, complete with a town center. Nearby Conley, a residential development with no town center and reduced walkability, has seen sales sink. It seems that walkable, traditional neighborhoods are not just good for our health and the environment — they are good for our pocketbooks.

CNN’s “Fueling America” fails to address mass transit is running a special series called “Fueling America” all about oil, gas and the effects of high prices. There are two articles included regarding iReporters using alternative means of transportation (bikes, transit), but the majority of the articles and features deal with increased oil drilling and higher-mileage cars. There is little mention of investing in transit infrastructure, cities and towns promoting mixed-use, walkable communities, or incentives for not using cars. The “solutions” presented by CNN merely continue to problem; they do not address the fundamental issue of American towns’ and cities’ reliance upon the car. Until solutions to address that issue are widely debated, the price of gas will continue to rise.

Some areas of higher density are good

Finally, we’re coming around to the idea that some areas of high density, walkable areas, with a mix of uses including residential, office and retail, are GOOD. Even in Belmont, Caifornia.

Houston City Council member urges mass transit

And a comprehensive plan for mobility that does not involve the car. Shocking in a city like Houston, which has no zoning and lots and lots and lots and lots of roads.

“We hold these truths to be self evident: that we are a walkable city…”

Interesting quote from Philly Mayor Michael Nutter. At least he has a vision.