The growing popularity of bike-share represents a shift toward embracing shared-transport networks. But there’s a much larger picture to consider.
The following is an excerpt from the chapter “A General Theory of Walkability” in the book Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at A Time:
The General Theory of Walkability explains how, to be favored, a walk has to satisfy four main conditions: it must be useful, safe,…
Los Angeles once had one of the most extensive and efficient transit systems in the world. In the 1930s the famous Pacific-Electric red trolleys (along with streetcar transit systems in forty-four other cities) were bought up by a consortium, National City Lines, composed of General Motors, Firestone Tyres, Mack Trucks, and Standard Oil—and closed down.
The L.A. Freeway era was born in the wake of this decision. It was not, however, a community decision—it was a commercial one, and illegal at that. National City Lines was found to have broken antitrust laws and was fined $5,000. However, this commercial decision basically ended the Transit City era in the United States, particularly once the Federal Highway System began in 1956."
In a recent “TED Talk,” Jeff Speck makes the case for creating a more walkable America based not on design arguments, but rather on the potential to create a more economically resilient, healthier, and environmentally sustainable country.
In this video, Speck describes the economic, epidemiological, and environmental reasons why the United States must reverse the “worst idea” the country has ever had. Instead of exporting suburban sprawl and auto-oriented design, he argues that that the U.S. can set a precedent worth emulating by designing for walkability. Speck shows how we can free ourselves from dependence on the car — which he calls “a gas-belching, time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic device” — by making our cities more walkable and more pleasant for more people.