Monday, November 9, 2009
The Congress for New Urbanism recently wrapped up its annual transportation conference--this year in Portland, Oregon.
One of the most pressing issues in this area is how street designs affect pedestrian and vehicular safety. For instance, in Montgomery, prior to the city's adoption of the SmartCode, most new subdivisions required wide streets, including in residential areas. The problem with wide streets is that, even with lower posted speed limits, the effective design speed is so high that many drivers find themselves hurtling through the neighborhood at an unsafe speed without realizing how fast they are really going.
Add into the equation short houses with very deep setbacks and its hard to accurately sense your speed by comparing it to the surrounding building envelope.
Fortunately, the CNU is working with a host of transportation groups and agencies to legalize context-appropriate street types. In a nutshell, this means narrow streets and short blocks in pedestrian areas that intuitively reduce a vehicle's speed, while leaving the wide roads out in the interstate areas where pedestrians are neither intended nor permitted in many cases.
Along those lines, ask yourself this: does your city legally allow 20-24 foot wide two-way streets?
In many jurisdictions the answer is no. That's an unfortunate (and, oftentimes, dangerous) answer if pedestrians are permitted anywhere near the street. Especially when you consider the success of a place like Professor Cook's stomping grounds in Charleston. Many of the streets on the Peninsula are narrow--very narrow.
Yet, they are still safe in many respects. Indeed, great value (monetarily, culturally, historically, aesthetically, you name it) is placed on property located in the part of Charleston that has the narrowest streets.
--Chad Emerson, Faulkner U.
This blog is an Amazon affiliate. Help support Land Use Prof Blog by making purchases through Amazon links on this site at no cost to you.
- Jamie Baker Roskie on Uber Goes to the State House Seeking Preemption of Local Government Control
- Stephen R. Miller on Why are building inspectors so often on the take?
- Josh Hightree on What makes people leave rural areas, and what makes them stay
- Jessica Shoemaker on What makes people leave rural areas, and what makes them stay
- Jamie Baker Roskie on Why are building inspectors so often on the take?
- New Land Use Articles on SSRN
- What to make of the fierce new debate over the efficacy of California's energy codes?
- The W&L Top 100 Law Review Rankings and the Land Use Law Scholar
- CFP: 2015 Future of Places Conference (lead-in to Habitat III) in Stockholm: Deadline of April 15
- Water Down Under: A Report from Australia by Barbara Cosens: Post 7: Conjunctive Management Down Under