Planning a pedestrian-friendly city

Los Angeles Times reports on “new urbanism,” where communities are navigatiable by pleasant and easy walkways. 

If may want to call it de-inventing the wheel.  In communities and workplaces across the country, new groups are marching together to get Americans off their duffs and one their feet.

With six in 10 Americans classified as sedentary, walking advocates have both vast opportunities and a daunting challenge. The programs that boost walking best take a two-legged approach, giving their target populations a reason to walk — a contest, an incentive or the camaraderie of a group — and removing obstacles that discourage walking, such as traffic hazards, distances from paths and appealing destinations, and lack of time.

As they work to improve infrastructure like sidewalks, parks and trails, walking advocates are showing up at zoning hearings, seeking to relax the boundaries that have kept commercial zones — places to shop, linger and socialize — walled off from homes. They’re lobbying state and local roadway authorities to change traffic patterns crafted to move motorists quickly and make them walker-friendly instead.

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