Suburbs and Walking
When I saw that Tigard, Oregon had a long term vision to be – “the most walkable community in the Pacific Northwest where people of all ages and abilities enjoy healthy and interconnected lives”, I was impressed with what moxie a suburban bedroom community of Portland had.
Jeff Speck, a city planner and author of “Walkable Cities” and co author of Suburban Nation, was presenting a FREE public presentation and a workshop for the city of Tigard, I had to go and see how they would accomplish this feat with a highway dividing the city. What was more intriguing is that ODOT, Oregon Department of Transportation and TGM Oregon’s Transportation and Growth Management Program partnership with this presentation. Jeff told the audience that this was a first, but a big step for planners, traffic control and the highway departments to be having the discussion of how to make cities more walkable and bike friendly in a safe environment.
Why should a city be walkable?
It all comes down to real estate – and the return to the city and urbanization. The economists, ecologists and epidemiologists all have an interest.
– The Millenniums are not having kids and are not driving
– The Boomers are retiring and no longer wanting to be auto dependent
Both want to be near services for their daily needs and do not want to maintain the fenced backyard.
How much does it cost to Commute?
This visual slide shows to drive our autos society pays $9.20 for each person.
How do you get people to walk?
1. You need a reason to walk
2. It must be safe to walk
3. It must be comfortable
4. It must be interesting
Jeff condensed his talk but you can also watch his TED Talk here. Some other books he recommended are the Blue Zone, Urban Sprawl and Public Health. It is about moving naturally and to have walking as part of our lifestyle similar to the Europeans.
I was impressed with the turnout and hope other suburban cities take on a ambitious goal like Tigard and continue to transform our cities into walkable, vibrant places to live.
Recently I have been involved with AARP designing some Neighbor Walks starting in the fall.