Streets Breed Crime, Litter, And Other Social Problems

"Urban areas, no longer relying on walking and bicycling as travel choices, are becoming unfit and unhealthy."

 

"Please note that the J'boro[MPO] meeting will be held on January 4, 2011, in the Council Chamber, Huntington Building, at 900 West Monroe Avenue at 10:30 a.m.  Please plan to attend.  Thank you."  We were outnumbered about 3 to 1 last time.  We need conservatives there. That's this Tuesday, tomorrow.

 

Quote from below: Both main streets and neighborhood roads serve as "outdoor living rooms." " Well-constructed streets elicit appropriate behavior, increasing neighborliness, association, belonging, acceptance, pride and play. When roadways become focused for inappropriate motorist volumes or behavior, streets become problems, breeding crime, litter, disrepair of properties and other social problems ... Urban areas, no longer relying on walking and bicycling as travel choices, are becoming unfit and unhealthy."

 

Following are quotes from a Video, Lecture,  and Article by Dan Burden, the Founder of Walkable Communities.  The Video was sent to me by someone from California by Facebook (one of three Californians who contacted me after watching the Video clips  the bikers put on the web.)  I looked up a couple other articles by Dan Burden and put the quotes altogether by subject. . The information from the Video is mostly notes and not exact quotes but the ones from the Lecture and Article  are exact quotes. After each point of information I have put Video, Lecture or Article so the reader will know where to find the information.  At end of email you can find the links and titles to the articles.

 

In addition to being the Founder of Walkable Communities, Dan Burden also worked in  Florida Department of  Transportation (DOT) as the state pedestrian and bicycle coordinator and also on the United Nations Technical Advisory Team to assist China.  Burden's Lecture was  presented to Transportation Research Board, Washington, D. C. in 2001

 

Quotes and information from Dan Burden:

 

" My lecture focuses on the early steps of returning towns and people to sensible, smart growth, sustainable, people-focused transportation and land use practices"  He also discusses livable communities.  Lecture

We have been building communities for cars rather than for the community. Video

 

Walking is greatest of all medications. Video

 

Walking has got to become the focus for transportation planning. Video

"Design conflicts 'should be resolved in favor of the non-vehicular users'". Article

 

Whether a city is working or not depends on how many people you see walking. Video

 

If I don't need to rent a car your rate will be high. If I do need to rent a car your rate will be low.   Video

 

Three elements that are most important and crucial for transportation planning: Healthy Planet, Healthy Community, Healthy Economy.   They all center on the same thing - walkability. Video

 

Burden said how important turning the clock back 100 years is.  We need to bring down the amount of fuel.  We need to downsize grocery stores so you can get groceries closer to where people live and mentioned other placed that need to be downsized so they would be in walking distance.  Video

 

Urban areas, no longer relying on walking and bicycling as travel choices, are becoming unfit and unhealthy.  Lecture

             

"A key measure of walkability and livability is the number of children walking or bicycling to school."  Lecture

 

"My second measure of the level of success of a community or neighborhood is the number of pedestrians and bicyclists that are present"  Lecture

 

Following bullet points taken from Burden's 25 principles for healthy neighborhood street design:

 

·                    6. Narrow streets, neck downs, tight curves to reduce vehicle speeds.

·                    8. Narrower intersections with smaller turning radii to reduce vehicle speeds.

·                    10. Tight curves with prominent buildings or other terminating vistas to slow traffic.

·                    11. On-street parking to slow traffic and shield pedestrians.

·                    19. Low curb radii where streets intersect to make turns tight and slow.

·                    22. Remove snow from sidewalks.

·                    25. Design conflicts "should be resolved in favor of the non-vehicular users".

                    

Wide streets, with wide lanes, entice motorists to speed, while narrower streets calm that traffic to safer speeds.  Article

 

Driver behavior.  He said that now the closer driver gets to intersection he/she speeds up in order to get through the light before it changes.  But when you do the above things, your mind is on totally different things.  You are looking at the scenery and this is supposed to slow down the speed of drivers.  Video

 

"Towns and portions of towns identified as neighborhoods must be planned and assembled to walking scale. History has proven that distance of a quarter-mile radius forms the near perfect place for people to interact...This scale allows people to reach most primary destinations in five minute walks. It is possible to get completely across the entire area in 10-minutes. "  Lecture

 

"Highly successful downtowns and most pleasing settings of all call for 50/50 ratio of street and sidewalk width, including edge treatments."  Lecture

 

Sidewalks demand snow removal and occasional resetting of slabs.  Lecture

 

Suburban towns, like Thornton, must learn to convert faceless shopping plazas into village

centers. Each village needs to be scaled to a walking radius. Streets must be added, while

parking lots are removed.  Lecture

 

Livingston Avenue, in Orlando, Florida was re-bricked [it reduces speed to about 20 miles per hour]  and dropped from 3 lanes to 2 lanes to reduce speeding, and maintain traffic flow. Area residents paid for 75% of the costs.

 

He said our standard of living is off the charts but we have dropped our quality of life, however.  Other countries have higher quality of life than we do.  (But he didn't name them) Video

 

Both main streets and neighborhood roads serve as "outdoor living rooms. " Well-constructed streets elicit appropriate behavior, increasing neighborliness, association, belonging, acceptance, pride and play. When roadways become focused for inappropriate motorist volumes or behavior, streets become problems, breeding crime, litter, disrepair of properties and other social problems.  Lecture

 

As long as we build our city with concern for people it will be filled with people.  If we build our city for cars, it will be filled with cars. Video

 

Portland, Oregon is example that shows a city can be healthiest place of all to live. Video [Note: Portland, Oregon, is an oft-touted model of sprawl containment. The city established an "urban growth boundary" in 1980 that protects nearby farmland surrounding the city and tightly limits development in outlying areas. Portland’s approach has not been without controversyThe mayor of Portland who headed up the transportation reforms in Portland, Neil Goldschmidt, later became the US Secretary of Transportation.  Lecture

 

They are taking up asphalt in Holland and redigging the canal to transport goods.  There are no cars on the streets in Holland.  (Don't know whether he is talking about Holland, Michigan or the country.) Video

 

How do we bring back walkability?  Video

 

The streets have too many lanes.  In Pennsylvania they took out 2 lanes and made them into a bike lane and one parking lane for a good solution.  Video

 

In another place they took out all the lanes but two. Video

 

Towns like Portland, Oregon; Santa Monica, California; Seattle, Kirkland and University Place, Washington are keeping traffic moving while reducing the number of travel lanes. The most common lane reduction is removing two lanes on a multi-lane highway, replacing the two travel lanes, with turn lanes or medians with turning pockets, bike lanes and edge treatments.  Lecture

 

Many towns are finding that narrower travel lanes in urban areas can also reduce speeds. Although there is no change in speed when lanes are reduced from 12 feet to 11 feet, a further reduction to 10 feet, and in some cases as little as 9 feet, is showing speed reductions… When remarked, the additional width gained is usually placed in bike lanes…These changes can occur using just paint or with rebuilt roadways.  Lecture

 

Lecture [This is evidently how we are going to develop bikeways throughout the Jonesboro MPO area because we certainly can't afford to build new roads. And just when will the US DOT require this? ]

 

"Bridgeport Way, University Place, Washington.. As a result of these efforts the new town went from a $450,000 annual public works budget to $30 million in state and county funded projects, with eight of the projects under construction. All will be bike and pedestrian friendly models for the state."  Lecture

 

How do we replicate things like this?  How do we make these changes?

A code might be written in such and such a way to get this result.  Video

 

Communities have the fewest transport problems when most trips are kept to neighborhood scale. Shops, schools, plazas and parks should be located where people live.  Lecture

Palo Alto, California, for example, does not allow any grocery store to be more than 30,000 square feet. Lecture

 

In Chicot we can't afford the $300 million  cost  for property to redo the streets so we can build a new village and solve nightmare that exist there today (where people can walk to places)  Video

 

We need to change building and make them behave properly to make walking more enjoyable.  (He shows pictures of how to make the building face the street and redesign them so they are more attractive and will make people want to walk more. ) Video

 

"We have to write the code to put all developers on the same page." Video

 

Cars are happiest when there are few cars around.  Video  12:18

 

He claims that cities that have returned to walkability have growing economies. Video

 

"We have lots of built infrastructure already in place.  When landscape architects, planning engineers, economic developers start working together as a team we can change the whole image of the city and the whole design to work from extremely low [trailed off but means walkability].  We have to write the code so that we put all developers on the same equal footing if we are going to get this as a fairly universal practice….We have to have the density." Video

 

It is important that we have many cities where these designs for walkability are examples. Video

 

There are serious projections that gas will be $10.00 a gallon in a short time.  Video

 

Vancouver has the greatest density of all North America. They built most of density in old railroad sections.  They dedicated all the waterways so the first 50 feet belongs to the public. This city built the city around its people and not cars.

 

Commuting is making people less happy.  Video

 

We will never have enough money to support transportation demands. Video

 

As we plan for walkability, we need to understand the sense of enclosure - low enclosure doesn't give you the sense of enclosure.  We feel a wonderful sense of security when we have the sense of enclosure.  Video

 

He said we needed new language and terms for all of this. Video

 

Transparency - How watched over do we feel?  Biking should make us feel watched over.

 

Image Ability - means Quality of place

Human scale - Is its sizing and positioning designed for human beings or for cars?

 

Complexity - something new every time you go by there.

 

With these you build a real arty town. Rent will be about $3,000 a month.

 

Couple more points - Every street is up for redesign - never had complete streets before.

 

There has to be a partnership between the building and the street.

 

Once we put in bikeways it will bring down speed of the car drivers by putting in the right size of lane.  It is then  a much higher performance street by putting in the right size lane .

 

Then he tells two or three sob stories. In one he says he received a very rewarding letter. .  The writer of the letter talks about how much he appreciated the owner of a house along a walkway in some city that allowed a man who was very sick to keep his dignity and walk to get his medicine and other needs because now he could stop half way home and rest on the bench and still be able to make the trip.  [If cars were still available he would not have needed the bench.]

 

Questions Mayor asked him at end of presentation.

 

Mayor:  How do you propose we do it right.  Answer. 

 

Burden: You need more density, plazas, tightness no sprawling out.  Cambridge, Mass is most walkable city in US and has great building density.

 

Mayor:  I have a question on traffic engineering.  Where is the safe place.

 

Burden:  Higher speeds are taking most lives.  Cars are moving slower now because of the walkways and bikeways.

 

Mayor:  Is it strictly civic responsibility.

 

Burden:  Until there is an owned vision by entire district, it won't go forward with gusto  One city wants to drop the use of vehicles by a certain percent  every year.  Chamber of Commerce is totally on board.

 

Mayor: How can we increase density and still have our own yards and gardens?

 

Burden:  That is a dilemma.  Then he talks about cutting the size of lots etc. etc.

 

Mayor Question:  Did you see some successful areas in San Jose.

 

Burden:  some streets were way too wide.  You can move all the traffic by changing one lane into bikeway and one street into parking and bring the speed down.

 

Mayor Question:  What changes bring the most results?  Re-striping - changing streets by restriping - adding bike lanes and walkways, etc. 

 

Then Burden talked about education and introducing all students to street evaluation, etc.  He said to get away from data crunching.  He has been addressing college groups as well as presentations like he is doing in San Jose.

 

He rates cities on two basis:  If I don't need to rent a car your rate will be high.  If I do need to rent a car your rate will be low. Video

 

Additional quotes on the Lecture:

 

My lecture focuses on the early steps of returning towns and people to sensible,

smart growth, sustainable, people-focused transportation and land use practices

 

If societies in all places of the world are to remain stable and healthy for centuries to come, we must learn to move more on our own… shorter distances and with less impact on resources of the planet.   Not only are we approaching peak world oil production {estimated to peak in 2005) and feeling early impacts of global warming from emissions, but our lifestyle of auto-based travel is becoming disruptive in virtually all households.  Lecture

 

A growing number now want peacefulness where they live and an end to the sprawl they bought into.

 

Burden was selected as one of five people from around the world to serve on a United Nations Technical Advisory Team on bicycling to assist China.  His team was shocked to find that China was trying to solve the bicycle problem (63% of all movement in China).  Burden said, "We tried to correct them, stating that the bicycle was not the problem for China, it was the solution. Our words were to no avail."  [Note you won't be able to convince Americans that bicycles are the solution either.  The only way you will get the public to use the bikeways and walkways for transportation is through coercion,  codes, and force.

 

By keeping block lengths short, as well, traffic speeds are also held in check.

 

Both main streets and neighborhood roads serve as "outdoor living rooms. " Well-constructed streets elicit appropriate behavior, increasing neighborliness, association, belonging, acceptance, pride and play. When roadways become focused for inappropriate motorist volumes or behavior, streets become problems, breeding crime, litter, disrepair of properties and other social problems.  Lecture

For more comfortable walking, and higher volumes of pedestrians in commercial and school districts, sidewalk widths are typically 8-12 feet. Large, successful downtowns demand 20-30 foot widths. Lecture

 

 Highly successful downtowns and most pleasing settings of all call for 50/50 ratio of street and sidewalk width, including edge treatments. Lecture

 

Sidewalks require buffers and edges. In suburban areas planter strips of 4-6 feet, with landscaping and trees create ideal street buffers. Fencing, shrubs and other features facing the private property side form edges to parking lots, open lots or other areas that must be traversed.  Lecture

 

Some roadways are purposely narrowed to two-lanes with medians. Multiple-lane roads need advanced stop bars, signing, enhanced crosswalk markings, improved lighting, and some call for mechanized systems.

 

A general reduction in quality of life and property value has resulted from overly high urban traffic speeds. Neighborhood and main street speeds should be kept low. Although speeds should still be factored with the functional and regional traffic movement needs, there is rarely justification for traffic to move at speed above 30 mph in most areas, and 20 mph in s As towns make the switch to safer, more appropriate urban speeds… , [they] are achieving injury reductions from 30-70%, and greatly enhancing walking, transit, bicycling and other modes of travel. .

 

Pioneering work in the early 80’s by Donald Appleyard in Berkeley, California, measured the impacts of traffic on livability. Streets with an average of 2000 autos per day provided residents with an average of 3.0 friends and 6.3 acquaintances. Streets with traffic volumes at 8,000 per day saw numbers of friends and acquaintances drop to 1.3 and 4.1. For streets with 16,000 per day the numbers of friends and acquaintances dropped to .09 and 3.1. The level of pride, sense of ownership and sense of place dropped dramatically as the traffic volumes rose.

 

Towns like Portland, Oregon; Santa Monica, California; Seattle, Kirkland and University Place, Washington are keeping traffic moving while reducing the number of travel lanes. The most common lane reduction is removing two lanes on a multi-lane highway, replacing the two travel lanes, with turn lanes or medians with turning pockets, bike lanes and edge treatments..

 

[T]ransit-oriented village designs are now under development in most states and are anticipated to be among the most popular places for purchase in the future. Orenco Station in the Portland, Oregon, area was built following Federal Transit Administration approval for a light-rail station in the middle of a cornfield. The new neighborhood is highly walkable and an excellent model of scale, proportion, mixed use, mixed income design. Portland officials know that their greatest opportunity with light rail is not just easing of traffic congestion, but the opportunity to spawn many urban villages  walkable scale.  Lecture

 

Walking audits are proving to be one of the best ways to get planners, engineers, architects, landscape architects, city council members, police and fire administrators to see and understand how any why they must work together. The police officer n this scene is seeing her town through pretend eyes of an eight year old.  Lecture

 

"Are educational and enforcement programs effective? More than half of my life has been devoted to bringing changes in motorist, bicyclist and pedestrian behavior. Clearly there are highly effective education and enforcement efforts bringing change. The most continuously effective programs are in places like Seattle, Washington;"

 

A set of officers in plain clothes would attempt legal crossings in marked crosswalks. Motorists who failed to yield were issued warnings. This program was done with significant media coverage. The next week motorists were cited. The program had far reaching effects. We have conducted this training in to officers in dozens of police departments. A year later, when conducting a similar course in Reno, Nevada, the officers showed us their pedestrian sting operation. We were alerted that more than 1000 tickets had been written that year. Special signs are posted alerting motorists that a sting operation was in effect. Crosswalks were marked with high visibility markings and signs. On the street where we observed the sting operation, speeds were in the 35-40 range on a 7-lane urban highway. Over 14

My Note: When they get finished with the education programs, a driver of a car will be as evil as a smoker smoking cigarettes.

 

Video by Dan Burden "Building Livable, Walkable Communities http://fora.tv/2008/07/14/Dan_Burden_Building_Livable_Walkable or

http://fora.tv:80/2008/07/14/Dan_Burden_Building_Livable_Walkable

 

Lecture by Dan Burden presented to Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C. in 2001. Video:  "Building Communities WithTransportation" by Dan Burden http://www.walkable.org/assets/downloads/trbpaper.pdf

 

Article by Dan Burden "Stop Sprawl"  http://www.sierraclub.org/sprawl/community/design.asp