News from the [complete, walkable] Street

Byrne, Bluemenauer and Sadik-Khan at Cities, Bicycles, and the Future of Getting Around event in Washington DC WashCycle summarizes remarks by the star studded panel at the December 8 event.   New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan’s called for a federal framework for urban street planning, saying local frameworks are too easily tied up in red tape and applauding Cities for Cycling.
NACTO launches Cities for Cycling The National Association of City Transportation Officials’  Cities for Cycling initiative will catalog, promote and implement the world’s best bicycle transportation practices in American municipalities.  According to the press release:  Cycling is booming in cities across the nation. Based on the American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. census bureau, cycling as a share of transportation is up in major cities by as much as 72% from 2007-2008, with an average growth rate of over 30%…. From protected cycle-tracks to bike boxes and special traffic signals for bikes, Cities for Cycling seeks to share these best practices among leading cities and encourage State and Federal governments to adopt the new design treatments as standard practices, opening up funding and technical support opportunities and cutting red tape.

Mind the Gaps. Picture =1000 words. Connecting cul de sacs streets to form a grid is easy to visualize; a no brainer.  But can it happen in suburbia?   We hear the screaming already.  Maybe just easier to abandon dead houses on dead streets.  Sad.

New Urban News aggregates articles on Walkable Streets. Is it just our imagination, or was 2009 the year when Walkable Steets and the 20 minute neighborhoods became kitchen sink concepts?  And concepts that beg so many other questions: transportation policy, design standards, connecting the grid, the need for motorists,  razing freeways, multi-modality, shared streets, pedestrians and cyclists dealing with one another more intuitively.   Great stuff.

Complete streets fundamentals and policy guidance.  The National Complete Streets Coalition also has a bunch of basic tools for activists working with planners and city officials. There are FAQs, fact sheets on a whole slew of sub-issues, and  community workshops.

Walmart rejects idea of integrating store in walkable community.
Hurricane Katrina wrecked a WalMart in a Mississippi town, opening the way for new ideas about what WalMarts should look like.  Local architects presented three different plans, all with a full-size store and housing  above ground-level parking. Residents would have had views of the Gulf of Mexico and protection from hurricane-driven water. But Walmart reverted to a single-use building elevated six feet higher than the one ruined by Katrina with no on-site housing.

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