From the Archives: Crosswalks and Walkability

Tonight, I’m taking a break. I need to pack, and I’ve finally finished my San Anselmo spider map (PDF) in preparation for my trip back home, but I don’t want to leave you hanging. I’ve gone through the archives and found a good piece from last year dealing with crosswalks and walkability in San Anselmo.  I’ll see you at this Thursday’s happy hour.

Dense in the core, sparse on the periphery

Walkability seems to be all the rage these days, and for good reason.  Any merchant will tell you that foot traffic is good for business, and any public health expert will tell you walking is good for your health.  It gets people out of cars for trips of less than a mile and puts people where they can see each other, generating the vibrant sort of street life where friends and acquaintances run into each.  It’s a win for residents, a win for businesses, and a win for the city’s health.

Crosswalks are key to ensuring good walkability.  A road system isn’t much of a road system if you need to drive 15 minutes out of your way to turn, and a sidewalk system isn’t much good if one needs to walk 15 minutes to cross the street.  A good crosswalk will enhance an entire streetscape, making it more inviting to pedestrians and more lively for all users.  In contrast, a streetscape without crosswalks can be dangerous.  If crosswalks are far enough apart, the two halves of the street will be cut off from each other, dramatically reducing the walkability of the area.

Read the rest…

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About David Edmondson
A native Marinite working in Washington, DC, I am fascinated by how one might apply smart-growth and urbanist thinking to the low-density towns of my home.

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