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Walkability:
Fact or Myth
Does walkability make for a sustainable
community?
Lane Kendig, Founder
Kendig Keast Collaborative
Walkability Values
• Walkability is good planning.
• Separating pedestrians from automobiles
makes walking more desirable and safer.
• Planning for pedestrian connectivity is
needed.
• Walking is good for health.
• Highly promoted as a sustainability
strategy.
Does Walkability = Sustainable?
“Walkability reduces automobile trips and thus
makes more sustainable community.”
• For this to be true the following must be true:
• There must be a significant modal split change.
• Total automobile mileage significantly reduced.
• Questionable.
Evaluate Whether Trips Walkable?
• Home based trips.
•
•
•
•
•
Work.
Shopping.
Socializing
Recreation.
Kids’ activities.
• How long are these trips?
Walking Facts
•
•
•
•
Speed: 3.1 mph.
Distance: ¼ to ½ mile.
Time: 5 to 10 minutes.
Average walking
commute: 11.9 minutes.
Commuting Trips
Percent by Mode and Travel Time
Percent of
Mode
Commutes
Car
76.1
Car Pool
10.0
Transit
5.0
Bicycle
0.6
Walk
2.9
Source: Commuting in United States 2009
National Average
Travel
Time
28.8
24.2
47.8
11.9
Shopping Trips
• Scale determines walkability.
• Neighborhood - Walkable
• Drug store, convenience and smaller.
• ¼ to ½ mile spacing 1,500 – 4,000 people.
• Community - Automobile
• Supermarket and hardware anchors
• 2-3 miles spacing 7,000 – 13,750 people.
• Regional - Automobile
• Regional centers, category killers, building supply.
• 5-10 mile spacing 50,000+ people
Socializing Trips
• How many of these are walkable?
•
•
•
•
•
Visiting neighbors.
Church.
Social organizations.
Meeting friends.
Eating out.
Recreation Trips
• How many of these are walkable?
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Walking for exercise.
Picnicking.
Movies.
Theater
Trail bikes, skiing, camping, boating.
Museums.
Sporting events.
Trips for Children
• Which are walkable?
• Day Care.
• Schools – percent of children walking
declining.
• After school events
• Soccer, baseball, swimming, football, hockey.
• Dance, gymnastics, ice skating.
• Scouts
Walking Trips
• Work – few walkable except in highest
intensity cities.
• Shopping – only neighborhood stores.
• Social – only neighborhood based.
• Recreation – most are auto trips.
• Children – most are auto trips that require
parent to make two stops.
Sustainable Strategies
Walkability is the Low Hanging
Easy.
Little impact.
Too few trips.
Short distances.
Over hyped.
Case Studies
• A review of New Urbanist communities.
• Build-to lines.
•
•
•
•
Residential in walking distance?
Market Area for retail?
How is parking handled?
True urban character?
Enclosed Space
Height of
Enclosure
Distance across space
Urban
• Buildings
enclose space
D/H.
• Spaces are
streets and
plazas.
• Space is
architectural
D/H = 0.25
D/H = 0.5
D/H = 1.0
D/H = 4.0+
D/H = 3.0
D/H = 3.0 to 4.0
D/H = 3.0+
D/H = 7.0 to 10.0
New Urbanist Center
Most Parking to Rear
VIEW FROM OFFICE BUILDINGS
View from Townhouses
Parking Dominates
Aerial Perrysburg – Source Map Quest Imagery
Looks like a great streetscape!
Until one sees parking lots to rear. Auto-urban
Category killer retail
Parking fields.
Pretend urban street.
Parking fields.
Big box retailers.
Out parcels.
Auto-urban new urbanist shopping center with at grade parking fields.
Aurora, Colorado.
Mashpee Commons
Nearest residential
1,700 ft.
walkable commercial
surrounding parking
Regional Center, 3.5 miles to town. Surface Parking. Auto Urban.
Example from Sustainable Development Projects, APA Press.
Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg
Not too different from last 3 examples lots of surface parking.
EFFICIENCIES
All examples based on offices with 3.3 parking spaces per
thousand square feet.
INTENSITY
FLOOR AREA RATIO
Auto-Urban
Stories
Urban
Surface Parking
Structured Parking
Parking Stories
1
0.503
0.619
2
2
0.673
0.897
2
4
0.809
1.493
3
8
0.900
2.571
5
20
0.965
5.073
10
40
0.989
7.508
15
Sustainability Requires Picking
the High Hanging Fruit
Picking the High Hanging Fruit
• Structured parking mandated.
• Higher density uses less land.
• Eliminate auto-urban strip commercial,
down zone and no new.
• Build new transit.
• Plan nodes of regional scale on transit.
True Urban
• Structured parking to provide:
• Floor area ratios well above 1.0.
• Enclosure of space.
• More building sites.
• Mixed Use.
• Vertical mixed use with residential.
• Horizontal mixed use with high density
residential next to retail/office.
Santana Row, San Jose, CA
Structured
Parking
Residential
High density
residential
Structured parking. + High density urban residential.
Lake Oswego, OR
New Urban
Old Auto-Urban
High Density Housing
Two story urban of traditional downtown.
Street Face
Adjacent Housing
Structured Parking Entrance
Mizner Park
Mixed use:
Commercial.
Office.
Multi-Family.
Town Houses.
Mizner Park, Boca Raton, FL
Town House
Street Face
Ground Floor Commercial
• “Build and they will come” is not valid
planning.
• Beware of competition.
• Existing businesses unlikely to relocate.
• Do market study to determine need.
• Mandating ground floor commercial is a
mistake. What happens if it does nor rent?
Salt Lake, UT
Struggling town center, no supermarket anchor.
Pretty, but substantial
vacancies.
Still auto-urban as it relies on surface parking.
Bossier City, La.
Surface Parking
dominant land cover
Build in highway commercial corridor, no nearby residential.
Eliminate Strip Commercial
• Too many communities zoned strip
commercial.
• Older cities did it on streets with trolley or
bus service.
• Suburbs on all arterials.
• The pattern is not sustainable.
• Create nodes instead.
Strip Commercial Zoning, Milwaukee
Eliminate Strips Build Nodes
Strip Commercial
Node surrounded by high density residential
Do Not Fear Height
• Tall building can be integrated into old
communities.
• Allows town centers to grow and provide
mixed use.
• Height is a design issue and can be
handled.
Tall Building from Historic Area
Maximum FAR on Average Height
The tall buildings must be off-set with lower buildings.
Modes of Transportation
• Walking – 1,320 ft. radius.
• Bicycle – Community scale but safety and
weather concerns.
• Bus Transit – Flexible but moderate speed.
• Rail Transit – Higher speed but limited
routes, serves regions.
• Car Pool – Flexible but requires active coordination.
• Car – Total flexibility.
Commuting Trips
Percent by Mode and Travel Time
Percent of
Mode
Commutes
Car
76.1
Car Pool
10.0
Transit
5.0
Bicycle
0.6
Walk
2.9
Source: Commuting in United States 2009
Travel
Time
28.8
24.2
47.8
11.9
Transit
• For the region, this is the mode that can
increase sustainability.
• The national average is low – 5%.
• New York, Chicago, San Francisco have
much larger rates.
• Portland invested and created increased
share.
• Planned nodes of shopping, employment.
Lake Forest, IL
Town Square
Transit Station
Parking
Built as rail suburb.
Lake Forest Town Square
View to Marshall Fields
Enhanced Transit
• Parking requirements based on national
average.
• 86% commute by car
• 5% by transit.
• Change mode mix.
•
•
•
•
10% transit -81% car.
15% transit -76% car.
20% transit- 71% car.
25% transit-66% car.
Impact on Parking
Transit
Car
Mode Percent
5%
81%
10%
76%
15%
71%
20%
66%
25%
61%
Parking Spaces Per
1,000 sf.
retail
office
5
3.3
4.7
4.4
4.0
3.7
3.1
2.9
2.7
2.5
EFFICIENCIES
Office buildings with various parking ratios due to
transit ridership.
INTENSITY
FLOOR AREA RATIO
Design
Stories
Parking Spaces per 1,000 sf.
Parking Stories
3.3
3.1
2.9
2.7
2.5
1
2
0.619
0.633
0.648
0.663
0.679
2
2
0.897
0.927
0.958
0.992
1.028
4
3
1.493
1.548
1.606
1.670
1.738
8
5
2.571
2.668
2.773
2.886
3.009
20
10
5.073
5.262
5.466
5.686
5.924
40
15
7.508
7.784
8.081
8.402
8.749
Nodes
• Central place or CBD employment and
shopping.
• Regional nodes or edge cities.
• 2 million square feet retail.
• 6 million square feet employment primarily office.
• Sub-regional centers are often single use
and need to be planned for both.
• Nodes and surrounding area 1 mile
radius.
Radial Rail Lines
.
Designed to send
workers to CBD
.
..
.
.
.
.
.
. . ..
.
Radial Rail Lines
.
Limited service
area, originally
the centers of
suburbs. Now
serve small
populations.
.
.
.
.
. .
. .. .
.
.
.
Circumferential Rail Lines?
Provides for
more service
area and replaces
roads for
circumferential
travel.
E.J. & E.!
.
.
.
.
.. .
.
..
.
.
.
.
Planning
• Needs to be long term.
• Nodes and rail lines determined in
advance.
• Roads coordinated with these.
• Rail service available from start of nodes.
• Rail service at start of development.
Nodes
Circumferential
Regional
Radial
Transit Lines
Sub-regional
Circumferential or radial
Growth Areas
Urban Areas
Urban Cores
High Speed Rail
Heavy Rail
High Hanging Fruit Strategy
• Plan regional, and sub-regional nodes at
transit stops.
• The surrounding area within ½ mile
should be higher density residential.
• Invest in transit.
• Mandate structured parking.
• Eliminate strip commercial on roads in
favor of nodes.
Results
• Increased use of transit.
• Use 33% to 25% of the land auto-urban
consumes.
• Walking and biking gains share of total
trips.
• Shorter trip lengths.
• Less energy for trips.
• Less miles of roads.
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EFFICIENCIES
All examples based on four parking spaces per thousand
square feet.
INTENSITY
FLOOR AREA RATIO
Auto-Urban
Stories
Urban
Surface Parking
Structured Parking
Parking Stories
1
0.409
0.575
2
2
0.514
0.808
2
4
0.590
1.329
3
8
0.636
2.280
5
20
0.668
4.506
10
40
0.680
6.680
15
Jackson, Wyoming
Classic town center with high FAR
Surface Parking
On Street Parking
Peripheral parking makes town center work.
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