April 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm #157834
This is something I would like to see us more involved in…pushing for actual investments in pedestrian travel. This would help take care of some of our other issues as well…like obesity.April 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm #157848Tanya OlsonParticipant
And for the chaser…all you LAs MUST have some good pics of ‘unwalkable America’!April 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm #157847
I know…I want to go out and take pictures of sidewalks and walkers now.April 13, 2012 at 8:39 pm #157846Trace OneParticipant
I read that some school districts that have been devastated by the economic downturn have actually ceased busing service for kids who live less than a mile from the school..Every dark cloud has a silver lining, or something like that – the ridiculous bus rides that kids take to get to school in the morning has long been a pet peeve of mine..April 13, 2012 at 10:10 pm #157845Jonathan Smith, RLAParticipant
Although…I wouldn’t want kids walking on cow paths along the highway.April 14, 2012 at 12:04 am #157844BoilerplaterParticipant
Presumably due to the recession, I’ve noticed a lot more walkers along a four-lane highway much like the one in the article that I regularly drive along. Now and then you read of pedestrians struck and killed along that same stretch of highway. I used to try to preach about pedestrianism back when I was with the NJDOT, but I wasn’t really supported by my superiors and got burned out on it.
Didn’t the American medical Association come out with a paper in recent years arguing for towns that better accomodate walkers as a means to assuage the obesity epidemic and incorporate more physical activity into people’s daily lives? I’ll have to look that one up. Would be good to have the AMA backing up what the New Urbanists have been saying for years.April 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm #157843Trace OneParticipant
In Virginia the kids would have hour and a half bus rides, and then sit in the school parking lot in the full buses until the bell rang to signal them to run to their classes (this is rural virginia, outside of Charlottesville, so it was not running because of a dangerous urban neighborhood) because they could not be allowed in the school playground without monitors…Talk about a prescription of ADD and obesity.
Unbelievable..I think there is a national walk to schools movement..April 15, 2012 at 4:35 am #157842Les BallardParticipant
Parents are saved from walking their little kids to school here by walking buses. Different adults each day, though maybe the same collection as you always get inactive folk in any group, collect the children from their doors and they are walked to school in company. How the adults are qualified to do this I don’t know, some adults seem unable to walk by themselves without interfering with traffic and getting hooted, at least, but it seems to work and means that many parents get a little extra time. Many of the children are too young to walk or cycle on their own and it saves a family walking the littlies too, as they can’t be left at home, though pre-school may start at 3 1/2. The number of tiny tots and buggies are thus reduced and, where a chelsea tractor (4wd) or whatever is used there is some car sharing. Some schools have a breakfast club to ensure kids eat something in the morning in the school canteen or classroom and teachers may have to monitor playgrounds on a rota basis. At higher schools pupils may not be able to cycle if closer than say a quarter mile and there are limits as to where you may get help with bus costs depending on income. Not everything works, works well or is done everywhere though and often children do not walk to school alone because of some relatively irrational fears. The cars, etc. are a real problem delivering to or collecting from every school, especially since the mothers – usually – who drive have little space to stop and no regard whatsoever for road lines, rules, regulations or laws while children may or not actually be willing to be carried in a wreck. On this basis some children are dropped up the road or round the corner because they would suffer severe embarrassment not being delivered to school in what they consider an acceptable vehicle. So this is the answer then, make all kids walk, in company or not, at least a half mile by forcing parents to run a complete rust heap. During school holidays you can tell the kids are off by the lack of vehicles on the road early and up to about 11am as parents, mainly mothers, go to fill up, drink coffee, shop or do other unnecessary things simply because they are out anyway. Instead families go out later, possibly by public transport, to out of town malls, etc. with the children though they also populate such places and town centres on their own up to one kind of no good or another. Indeed, the coffee shop I haunt can be overrun by expensively dressed apparent mini sports stars (such dress is the fashion of course) pre (tweenies) and post teens when all the uni students who dress not nearly so well have disappeared for a while. Indeed, social workers meeting caffeine hungry clients and uni lecturers holding tutorials in such places probably keep them going.April 15, 2012 at 10:15 pm #157841Tosh KParticipant
Wasn’t one of the keynote speakers at a recent ASLA conference (I’m thinking DC) a medical researcher who pointed out the growing percentage of topics at medical conferences centering on urban design issues? Public health researchers seem to know how to do the research on health and the built environment, not sure why there aren’t a lot more landscape architects involved in the conversation – planners seem to like to talk about it.April 17, 2012 at 1:52 am #157840
I find the health benefits that a good design can afford one of the most compelling things that attracted me to landscape architecture. I am drawn more to the practical benefits of good design…not so much design for design sake. I know there is a place for that as well…for art, just for the sake of art. I have always loved using well designed spaces…it just makes me feel happy and well balanced. We are a really active family that walks all over town. I have multiple children and they are all used to riding scooters, bikes and walking for miles. Our town is fairly well connected, with plenty of quiet streets with sidewalks and we also have a trail system. Yet, I still find that not many people walk. I have often wondered about this. It seems very natural to me, but I often have people say, “Oh I see you all over town! I saw you downtown…isn’t that far from your house?”. In reality, I live just as far as they do…perhaps 1/2-3/4 of a miles? I can understand in the winter at times, we are in N. Idaho…it can get pretty rough…but last week we walked our kids about a mile to school all five mornings. It is such a great way to connect as a family, is good for our health and studies have proven exercise helps children learn. Our city is also involved with Safe Routes to School and there was some talk about starting “walking school buses”…which I was want to look into more. I think landscape architecture could really find a voice that would be helpful in this conversation. Our politicians are focusing more and more on obesity…is there an in for us in here? To start asking for funding specifically for sidewalks and pedestrian travel?
I don’t know what can be done to encourage people to go outside. To make walking about getting from point a. to point b. as opposed to getting exercise. I suppose that is a very American mindset that I have been thinking a lot about lately. Each thing has its own purpose and must not touch the purpose of other things. Therefore we see people associating walking with the dreaded work-out, roads with fast moving traffic(don’t slow them down with your bike!) and town zoning that removes coffee shops from neighborhoods. We have made an assembly line out of living…and have forgotten how to enjoy the trip on the way. Hhmm….April 17, 2012 at 7:06 pm #157839Jordan LockmanParticipant
In my area there is a strong redevelopment of old warehouses on the edge of downtown. Turning the area into trendy residential area, that is both walkable and urban.April 17, 2012 at 7:31 pm #157838Justin R. BellParticipant
unfortunately, our society is of the mind that change is hard and we only do things the easy way. i agree with your point here Heather. i kick myself for not getting out of bed 30 minutes earlier to walk my own kids to school and head to UI myself. i think it really comes down to making that personal choice to live smart and healthy. and unfortunately we cannot change each other, only inspire.April 18, 2012 at 3:04 am #157837
Hope to see you walking Justin! My husband says he has met you through the student ASLA club.April 18, 2012 at 3:04 am #157836
This would have been so fun to experience.April 19, 2012 at 5:01 am #157835Zach WatsonParticipant
Interesting article about the new generation not wanting to have to deal with cars, that goes along with the original topic.
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