Walkable Streets: Considering Common Issues

Generalist Geoff Dyer delivers his walkability design tactics magnum opus on PlaceShakers. His years of practical experience are conveniently condensed for your consumption.

"As municipalities throughout North America seek to reform their development patterns (or at least expand their options) from the single-use zoning and automobile oriented regulations of the past century to those that allow for walkable, compact, mixed use places, there is a long list of standards and regulations that must be addressed. Often we discuss these issues in isolation, particularly the reform of use-based zoning into more responsive form-based zoning, and the reform of street standards from automobile-focused approaches to those that also balance the needs of bikes and pedestrians. Not only are these two regulations inextricably linked, but a roster of appropriate walkable street standards is absolutely essential to a form-based land use regulation. Where conventional zoning districts come with their own menu of street types (the ubiquitous local, collector, and arterial — all named for their vehicular function), so does the zoning for walkable urbanism (the street, avenue, and boulevard — to name a few)."

"Although the majority of our work on form-based regulations has been focused in the U.S., these ideas are increasingly catching on north of the border. While recently discussing this issue I was asked to convey what, in my experience, I have discovered as common considerations and issues when looking to create such standards in the Western Canadian context. Whether discussed in relation to a form-based code, or in isolation as 'walkable streets,' 'urban thoroughfares,' or (most popular), 'complete streets,'  the truth is that many of the issues we face in Canada are the same as the ones we have faced in the U.S."

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