3 Simple Ways to Make Streets More Walkable

Although leaders in the Twin Cities seem to agree on the need to improve the appeal of city streets for those on foot, turning those words into actions seems difficult. Bill Lindeke offers three easy solutions that don't involve touching the street.

Though 'improving walkability' seems to be in every comprehensive plan developed in Minneapolis and St Paul, when it comes time for implementation it's a different story. Bill Lindeke explains, “when it comes down to any one particular project, the situation seems to change. A proposal goes out for traffic calming (say, on South Nicollet Avenue), and all of a sudden each parking space becomes crucial to the city’s economy, each lane of asphalt becomes vital to the regional transportation network, and (I’m sorry but) there’s no money to do anything at this time.” So, when it comes to improving sidewalks for enhanced pedestrian safety, “talk is cheap, and change is hard, and that goes double for concrete," he writes.

In light of the reluctance by cities to explore changes to the actual roadway, such as “road diets, sidewalk extensions, [and] lane narrowing”, Lindeke proposes three alternatives for improving pedestrian safety that can be achieved at little expense: adding red light cameras, installing "no turn on red" signs, and banning the use of cell phones while driving. 

For Lindeke, these are no-brainers -- simple and inexpensive solutions that make immediate progress in supporting traffic calming, promoting walking, and increasing safety. He concludes, “All of these tactics are the equivalent of 'calling the bluff.' Sure there are some political challenges, but if cities and governments really meant what they said, they’d do one or all of these things."

Full Story: Three Ways to Improve Walkability Without Touching the Street

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95