walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

hating the dead end

I went down a little metaphorical dead end in an effort to find out if it was really the case that the idea of what is within walking distance had changed over time (I don't really believe this, but then I run up against people who think that anything over a mile is too far, and that's clearly a change from the historical/cross-cultural norm.), and along the way, I tripped once more over a list of ideas about what constitutes walkability. Included on this list -- as on many, many others -- is the idea of a street grid, rather than having cul de sacs.

I grew up on grids, and they have their merits. But a lot of what is going on in Western cities and towns with grids whose leaders and/or citizens are attempting to encourage walking, cycling and public transit is making many of the streets which go through very, very difficult to drive through. I cannot help but think that what is actually desired is not through streets, which is to say, for cars, but through paths, which is to say, for not-cars: for bicycles, pedestrians, and possibly for some low-speed powered vehicles. I know the fire departments generally prefer through streets, and various western European countries have attempted compromises such as home zones.

It really bugs me, tho, that on the list of things that people who are ostensibly all about the take-back-the-streets is to _give_ back the streets that cars don't much care for. To the cars. I'd far rather see us create a whole bunch of not-for-cars paths connecting the dead ends to other streets.
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