The Walkable Grid

Walkability Grid - sustainable construction economics for healthy cities -Green at No Cost

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.

Richard Vermeulen - Construction Economist for Green Building

Richard Vermeulen is the construction economist creating profitable sustainability in the built environment. He’s the founder of GreenLight™, author of Green at No Cost, and developer of the Total Benefit Analysis and The Value Process as well as co-CEO, lead economist, and chief estimator for Vermeulens. Richard has developed industry-leading standards for estimating and data-basing complex construction projects throughout North America. In addition to consulting for thousands of major projects over 30 years, Richard has designed and built residential and commercial projects, from hammering nails to hound-dogging bureaucracies. He has traveled extensively, always with an awareness of how cities do and don’t work.

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