The Walkable Grid

The Walkable Grid

up! Magazine named Vancouver as the most walkable city in Canada, saying that Travel is best experienced on the ground while eye-level with your surroundings and its inhabitants “the start of a new adventure is a mere unencumbered pivot away. About 40 percent of downtown residents walk to work, and 40 percent live without a car. Innovations like no-curb pedestrian areas, attractive streets, access to trails and green space, walkways that link beaches and parks contribute to the city’s walkability, as does making pedestrians the first priority in terms of infrastructure.

Self-sufficient communities that are of a walkable size have been lost with modern planning and commuting models. Vancouver is progressive in terms of walkability, but it and any city can benefit from the Parkway City model. Instead of winding the clock back to an age that precedes the wheel, we need to improve our mobility in all aspects, from walking to driving to mass transit to create a balanced infrastructure.

The concept of a walkable grid is a fundamental part of any transit-based system. The Parkway City model establishes a 1-kilometer transit grid as the basis of the grid since it must be reasonable to walk from a transit drop-off to a given destination. If either the transit time or walk times are too long, then the transit system fails.

Current suburban planning fails to deliver a walkable transit grid as through traffic must compete with local traffic on main streets. These are typically too widely separated to be walkable and are often too congested to function. The Parkway grid responds to these deficiencies as it prioritizes through traffic without compromising the commercial interests of the main street.

Vancouver and other cities throughout North America are making walkability a priority; this is a positive step in the right direction. Implementing the Parkway City walkable grid would be a giant leap.

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