A Picture Worth 1,000 Arguments for More Walkable Streets

Some particularly disastrous streets, along with some hope for the future.

Image

The above photo comes from The Walkable and Livable Cities Institute, led by the indefatigable Dan Burden. The Institute posted it on Facebook yesterday, with this caption:

Most of us will outlive our ability to drive. If we want to be able to stay in our neighborhoods, in our homes, beyond our driving years, we need streets that support us in walking. This neighborhood street in Smithtown, NY, could really use at least a sidewalk.

I just can’t add to that. The photo tells the story.

Here’s another:

This family in central Florida needs to cross a street, but there isn't a crossing within a quarter-mile. So they take their chances with the six lanes and cars passing at 45 to 55 mph.

Ugh.

The Walkable and Livable Cities Institute is a great resource for all who are interested in people-focused development. I especially like the way they teach visually, as in this aspirational re-imagination of a road in Orange Beach, Alabama:

Here is an excerpt from the group’s mission statement:

  • We inspire by helping communities envision a better future, by sharing examples and success stories and by displaying a personal commitment to the movement.
  • We teach the benefits of walkability and livability, best practices in designing for active transportation and strategies for successful civic engagement and implementation.
  • We connect community members and leaders to important resources, engage them in the process, and help them communicate with each other.
  • We support with ongoing guidance, educational materials and by celebrating successes widely.

Go here for more information about the Institute.

This post originally appeared on the NRDC's Switchboard blog.

About the Author

  • Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and co-founder of Smart Growth America. More
    Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and co-founder of Smart Growth America. He is the author or co-author of Once There Were Greenfields (NRDC 1999), Solving Sprawl (Island Press 2001), Smart Growth In a Changing World (APA Planners Press 2007), and Green Community (APA Planners Press 2009). In 2009, Kaid was voted one of the "top urban thinkers" on Planetizen.com, and he was named one of "the most influential people in sustainable planning and development" in 2010 by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. He blogs at NRDC's Switchboard.