Walkable community advice from Roger K. Lewis, a practicing architect and a professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Maryland:
How can we encourage and enable more walking? What will motivate people to change long-standing perceptions and deeply engrained behavior? We must plan and develop -- or redevelop -- metropolitan environments so walking becomes safe, comfortable, enjoyable and stimulating. This requires satisfying several design criteria:
-- Street patterns must be easily navigable and latticelike, with blocks that are not too big and intersections that are not too far apart. Streets must be continuous and interconnected, providing motorists and pedestrians with more than one path for traveling to a destination.
-- Public streets must be artfully proportioned. Widths of sidewalks, planting strips, cart ways and medians are critical, as are the heights and setbacks of buildings flanking streets. Well-configured street spaces balance a sense of architectural definition and enclosure with desirable exposure to sky, sunlight, air movement and views.
-- To make walking truly pleasurable, streetscape quality and amenity are important. A thoughtful mix of shade trees and vegetation beautifies streetscapes and makes them ecologically greener. Good lighting and signage, convenient street furniture and attractive paving materials enhance a streetscape experience visually and functionally.
-- It must be safe to walk, day or night. In addition to good lighting and durable walkway paving that doesn't trap high heels, streets need well-marked crosswalks and synchronized traffic-control signals. Police or other public safety officials should be seen regularly patrolling streets.
-- Buildings facing public streets need lots of windows, entrance doorways and storefronts. These benefit merchants looking for customers and pedestrians looking for merchandise. Because there is safety in numbers, streets lined by eateries with outdoor seating are even safer, not to mention livelier. People will walk along such streets because walking is delightful.