Last week Jeff Speck was in Vancouver as part of the Jericho Talks series looking at the future planning of the Jericho lands site in Kitsilano. This 90 acre site has the chance to display the best ecological principles with its unique partnership of Canada Lands Corporation, the City of Vancouver and three First Nations, the Musqueam, Squamish and the Tsleil-Waututh.
Jeff is the author of Walkable City and Suburban Nation and has just released his latest book, Walkable City Rules.He truly believes that great cities result in investment in walkability, bikeability and equity, and these expenditures are necessary to create great places to live and work. Jeff started his career working with new urbanism champions Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater- Zyberk and has continued that relationship for a lifetime.
Creating good walkable and bikeable places is an equity issue as the less income people make the more likely they are to walk or bike. In an evocative discussion, Jeff Speck insists that municipal planning and engineering departments must work together and must place the highest density at transportation “nodes” or hubs.
In the United States two-thirds of children are expected to get diabetes, and vehicular deaths are rising. Designing good walkable places means creating walks that are healthy, useful, safe, comfortable and interesting. Smaller street blocks such as in Portland Oregon create visual interest for pedestrians, and there are many quick fixes to make walking easier and more comfortable. Jeff notes that by simply removing the painted centre line on streets that cars go 7 miles per hour or 11 kilometres per hour slower, and less wide lanes (ten feet wide according to NACTO, (National Association of City Transportation Officials) slow vehicles as well. Studies done in the 1990’s show that removing traffic signals and replacing those with four way stop signs significantly reduce crash incidence. It is time for engineering to catch up with the 21st century concept of creating livable connected places that address physical and mental health, and allow for generations of people to interact on the street walking and biking.Read more »