Environmentalists, city dwellers, fitness enthusiasts, millennials, developers, and urban planners alike are sharing the road on this issue. This week alone, numerous sources published thought provoking articles about why this matters (or should) and what we can do to promote it in our own backyard.
The main question being asked in Modern Cities’ article Infrastructure as Permaculture is: “Can our paved grid of roads and sidewalks evolve into an ecology of functions that benefit both residents and the environment?” Tyler Caine, explains for readers that, “Rather than a road of consumption driven primarily by the use of fossil fuels, the design creates an armature of production, organized around the holistic cultivation of community resources. Perhaps the most important resource to a vibrant, local streetscape is the fostering the pedestrian presence.” He challenges the reader to see that the old “monoculture of cars” vs. this new “ecology of transit” has benefits that extend across industries and allows multiple systems to benefit one another.
In Philly, efforts have been made to increase bike safety and foster a more accessible cityscape. Including, improved and extended pathways as well as the Philly Bike Share program Indego. Indego has been a huge success in connecting people, bikes, and consequently the neighborhoods of Philadelphia. How does it work? “The Indego system features hundreds of bikes available 24/7, 365 days a year. Station locations were selected based on proximity to community resources, employment centers, bike infrastructure, and transit in consultation with partner agencies, institutions, community groups, and the public.” Just this week, Indego published a blog highlighting their efforts to promote cycling as a coping strategy for mental health going beyond the more known benefits of transportation, sustainability, and affordability: Exploring Cycling as a tool for Youth Suicide Prevention. Reminding us once again, it’s not just about helmet safety and wider bike lanes.
While there’s no doubt this is more than a trend and progress is being made for the pedestrian community, challenges still exist and some cities are slower than others to pedal forward on the topic.
In CityLab’s article Bicycle People Speak Your Mind author Andrew Small is giving cyclists a microphone for the city’s cycling infrastructure and overall culture. The survey put out by PeopleForBikes “asks questions about the safety, convenience, and civic support cyclists enjoy in their towns. Do motorists and cyclists get along? Do you feel safe riding a bike? Does biking partner effectively with public transit? Are there bike-to-work days?” The survey will run from February 2017 until April 2017, the results of which will produce a city ranking. Maybe take a minute to put Philly on the map?
And finally, (for this blog, but certainly not for the topic) Jeff Speck has been a name well known for his “General theory of Walkability.” Through research, good humor, and practical strategies for urban planners and city officials he offers insights and tips about the importance of bike lanes and walkways to the quality life and livelihood of cities everywhere.
Pedestrian presence is not just an issue for those who want to set out on foot or who prefer to zip to work on 2 wheels rather than 4. What continues to rise to the top, like so many issues of sustainability and environmental impact, is that this trend yields benefits for all involved. Those who are invested finanicially in city life, those who are committed to the development and construction of neighborhoods, those who desire to experience the city up close in all its grandeaur, and those who are concerned for the world our grandchildren will live in, can all walk (or pedal) to the beat of the same drum on this issue.
Raza Properties is committed to the good of the city and hearing the needs and wants of residents. As our vision states, development is a passion for potential, progress, and pride in the city of Philadelphia. At Raza Properties we go beyond building structures–we build jobs, we build communities, we build opportunity. Because of this vision we take an authentic interest in these conversations and try to listen and participate in dialogue around issues impacting quality of life, sustainability, and urban development.