Wednesday, March 28, 2012

True Cost of Unwalkable Streets

A great read: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2012/03/true-cost-unwalkable-streets/1616/

Kaid Benfield makes no mention of carbon footprint, or reliance on foreign oil, or global warming, or electric cars as a silver bullet solution, or the importance of LEED-certified buildings, or any other topics that tend to cause division and miss the main point for a lot of people. Rather, he focuses on the simple and direct correlation between the way in which we've chosen to build our towns and the health consequences of that decision. When we design for just one choice (driving) at the expense of other ways of going about our daily activities, the vast majority of us will make that one choice the resulting lack of physical activity will cause our collective waistline to get bigger. Not to mention the social harms of making it more and more difficult for people to just walk from their homes to the corner store. It's seems so obvious and straightforward, yet turning this ship around is no easy task.

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I've seen a disturbing number of traffic counters recently on roads throughout central Arkansas, and if past action is any indication of future steps, I'm pretty sure what the likely outcome of those traffic counts is going to be. I know the road 'improvement' projects could be delayed temporarily by channeling my inward Edward Abbey to use the limb loppers in my trunk for nefarious purposes (I've heard that loppers work great on the rubber hoses attached to traffic counting machines), but we need something more permanent than that. 

We need more folks saying things like: "City of Little Rock, Metroplan, AHTD, City of North Little Rock, Pulaski County, Faulkner County, Conway, Saline County, etc., etc.- STOP trying to solve traffic problems by making it easier for people to cause traffic! Let's slow down to think about the outcomes we'd like to actually see happen and take steps to make those outcomes possible instead of just reacting to today's perceived traffic problems with yesterday's antiquated responses. Let's engineer choice back into the system instead of spending billions of dollars to force everybody into one unhealthy, dangerous, and expensive choice!" 

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Spring break is over, but the aforementioned  posts did not happen. Plumbing work, mowing, swimming in a creek in the Ozarks, a 7+ hour march/crawl to the Eye of the Needle and back again, reading, and hanging out in the Coolest Town in Arkansas all got in the way of blogging. Sorry! Words will flow as time allows.

1 comment:

  1. Speaking of making walking an easier choice, Metroplan & City of North Little Rock are hosting a public meeting on how to improve the safety of Pike Avenue. It is the second most dangerous road in Central Arkansas for pedestrians. Monday, April 16th, 5–6:30 pm. Agape Community Temple of Servants Church 1224 Franklin St. (Corner of 13th St. and Franklin) North Little Rock

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