Completing the Grid to Improve Walkability

<em>Grist</em>'s David Roberts maps out why his neighborhood is not walkable and how it could be greatly improved with just a little extra infrastructural connectivity.
April 10, 2010, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"As you can see it's a fairly discrete area, bounded on four sides by busy arterials. Inside those arterials, there's no reason you couldn't have a thriving community. It already has a decent walkability score. There are a couple of parks; Greenwood boasts several restaurants and cafes; Aurora has an array of big box retailers; there's a great supermarket just a few blocks north of 145th. There are more people coming in, too, as a series of condos are built along Linden.

But despite all the ingredients ... there is no such community. The first and primal cause is that there are no %*#! sidewalks. (You hear me Mayor McGinn? Show me what the new guy can do!) But I think the problems run deeper. Look closely at the map and you'll note that the development pattern is almost aggressively misanthropic. Everyone is isolated from everyone else."

With streets that end just short of linking and few sidewalks, walking around and through the Bitter Lake neighborhood in Seattle is a challenge. Roberts offers a vision of how the street grid could be improved.

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Published on Wednesday, April 7, 2010 in Grist
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