“Getting people out of cars and rebuilding our main streets is not going to be easy, and cannot be oversimplified.”


I appreciate the author’s candor in this short but unsparing look at the realities of striving toward walkability. The bullet points in the excerpt ideally would be grasped by all local candidates for office; I wouldn’t expect them all to agree, although it would be nice to think they’d at least been exposed to them.

Is there a “fundamental logic of walkability”? by Lloyd Alter (Treehugger)

 … It is so complex, building a walkable city that works.

  • We need higher average densities to have enough people to actually support small shops.
  • We need a fairer tax structure that doesn’t shift so much of property tax burden onto the commercial sector, making Main Street stores so expensive.
  • We need better pedestrian infrastructure so that people in wheelchairs, with buggies and with strollers can actually all get down the street.
  • We need to stop the subsidies on highways and fuel that support the suburban big box economic models.
  • We have to charge car owners the true economic costs of maintaining the roads, police, ambulances and parking because even when the store is less than a mile away, it is still often easier to drive. If the car is there, people are going to use it.

Then there will be some logic to walkability. Right now, for many, it makes more sense to drive.