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25 Feb

How to Make Suburbia More Walkable


Most suburban areas in the United States are created for the able-bodied individuals who own a car. Neighborhoods rarely have sidewalks, and many roads are long connecting points between neighborhoods and shopping centers. While suburbia may be a great area for a casual stroll, it’s not exactly great for those trying to get from home to work.

According to Vox.com as per the Chicago Metropolitan Agency of Planning, 42% of boomers and 63% of millennials prefer staying in a neighborhood where a car is not needed. In addition, when residents walk more often, the city has to invest less in public transport operations. This restores the local economy and brings in the notion of “people-oriented streets.”

Multi-Use Zoning

One of the major reasons why suburbs are less walkable is because of single-use zoning. Meaning, one category of an establishment cannot reside near or next to another. As a result, when a person has to visit a doctor, stop at a restaurant for lunch, and buy a present from a retail store, this person may have to travel to three different zones. This can only be done effortlessly by a car.

Allowing more multi-use zoning would create several developments with a variety of services, increasing walkability.

Bike Lanes

Reallocating road space to bike lanes rather than street parking will often encourage more bikers to take to the roads. Easy bike parking will also encourage bikers to park and walk along blocks of shops. Bikes are a wonderfully economical option for people of a variety of ages and statuses.

Bike lanes help to protect cyclists make turns conveniently by taking them in front of the traffic signal. This will reduce possible road mishaps.

Designing a Pedestrian-Friendly Neighborhood

NACTO creates design guides to display how suburbs can become pedestrian-friendly. The guides outline certain transformations like adding more greenery near the sidewalks. Cities, towns, and neighborhoods encourage pedestrians by providing benches under the shade of trees.

Wide streets without sidewalks can be improved by adding or widening existing sidewalks. Designated parking areas can keep parked cars off the streets so that pedestrians and bikers have plenty of visibility.

Establishing Local Parks and Public Shared Spaces

Pushing for local parks and shared spaces encourages the community and establishes a sense of ownership in the neighborhood. Cities, towns, and communities should also consider how to create affordable and easily accessible housing for other economic statuses. And it’s important to have walkable areas between home, stores, and other necessities.

Whatever the chosen method, walkability is the goal, where implementing intelligent changes can encourage people to walk around the neighborhood and build a better environment and economy.

At StrongGo, we believe in creating a more accessible world, and we do that with our ADA-compliant detectable warning dome tiles and trapezoidal delineator. Speak with an expert today by emailing csd@stronggo.com.

References:
https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/10/26/18025000/walkable-city-walk-score-economy
https://science.howstuffworks.com/engineering/civil/why-so-many-suburban-streets-twist-and-turn.htm
https://www.moderncities.com/article/2017-sep-five-ways-to-make-a-suburb-more-walkable