City planner, urban designer and author Jeff Speck spoke to stakeholders in the Orlando community on Wednesday (5/11) about walkability, or how friendly an area is to walking (and biking). Bike/Walk Central Florida was there live-tweeting the event. Check it out here and stay up to date with us live @BikeWalkCFL.
Walkability reduces the amount of money commuters spend on gas, reduces automotive greenhouse gas emissions, and improves individuals’ health. Studies show that those who commute by bicycle or walking on a regular basis weigh significantly less than those who commute by car.
If a walk isn’t those four things, people won’t be willing to switch from driving. What do they mean?
1. Useful – Gets them where they’re going in an efficient manner
2. Safe – Adequate lighting, safe distance from the roadway, etc.
3. Comfortable – Wide enough space to walk, aesthetics such as benches
4. Interesting – Something to look at, something to entertain the walker – this could be art or advertising
A good reminder that when the city invests in infrastructure, bicycling and walking will become more popular options for the average person.
An essential part of this infrastructure involves “right-sizing” the streets, making it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Finally, it looks like the more ped friendly you are, the happier you are!
Not to mention as Jeff said, millennials are increasingly demanding walkable cities, and if they aren’t delivered, young professionals won’t come. Orlando’s continued growth relies on its ability to become a walkable city.
BWCF Executive Director, Amanda Day, spoke to the Orlando Sentinel about local road and transportation updates around Robinson Street and Denning Drive in Jason Ruiter’s Jeff Speck article, “Transportation Expert Spreads Message of Walking.”
Jeff Speck is the author of The Smart Growth Manual, Suburban Nation, and most recently, Walkable City. To hear him speak about the walkable city, play his Ted Talk below.