Tag-Archive for ◊ Walking ◊

• Monday, June 25th, 2012

Walkable Neighborhoods more ValuableThis isn’t really news to Montrealers, but it is still good to see the validation from the States.

Source: Smart Growth America

The most valuable real estate today is in walkable urban locations – and that’s a stark change from only a decade ago.

That is one of the principal findings of a new report from the Brookings Institution. Walk this Way:The Economic Promise of Walkable Places in Metropolitan Washington, D.C. is an economic analysis of the neighborhoods in and surrounding our nation’s capital.

“Emerging evidence points to a preference for mixed-use, compact, amenity-rich, transit-accessible neighborhoods or walkable places,” the report explains, noting that consumer preferences have shifted and that demand for walkable housing is outpacing supply, thus contributing to higher property values.

“A Life of Walking vs. Driving,” via the New York Times.

These popular neighborhoods are also economic powerhouses. Walkable neighborhoods perform better economically, perform better commercially, have higher housing values and had lower capitalization rates during the recent recession than their suburban counterparts, according to the report.


• Friday, June 15th, 2012

Source: The Free Press

This spring and summer, Côte St. Luc is offering a series of free, hands-on workshops and lectures for citizens wishing to work towards building a sustainable future for their community. The series, called “Doing Your Part: Building a Sustainable Future Together,” will show how you can make small changes in your home, garden, and neighborhood that will impact the environment for future generations.

All events will be held at 7 pm in the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library, 5851 Cavendish Blvd. Upcoming dates and topics include:

  • Energy Smart: Tips and Tricks to an Energy Efficient Home (June 20);
  • The Enchantment of Trees, From Roots to Canopy (July 4);
  • Become a Locavore, Bringing Local Food to Your Table (July 18);
  • Leave the Car at Home, Get Walking and Get Healthy (August 1).

Admission is free to all events, and details can be obtained by phoning 514.485.6900.

• Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Investments in bike paths and walk ways pay offSource: DC.StreetsBlog.com

If you ever doubted whether a small investment in biking and walking could have a large impact, here is your proof.

The last transportation law, SAFETEA-LU, provided four communities with four years of funding to build an infrastructure network for nonmotorized transportation (a fancy way of saying “sidewalks and bike paths”). It wasn’t a lot of money — $25 million each to Columbia, Missouri; Marin County, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.

The program built 333 miles of on-street biking and walking routes, 23 of off-street facilities, and 5,727 bike parking spaces in the four municipalities — not to mention some outreach and education. Not bad, especially when you consider that $100 million would only buy about five miles of new four-lane highway in an urbanized area…

The FHWA report is full of data showing how a small down payment on active transportation can lead — quickly — to dramatic improvements in air quality, traffic levels, and public health.

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a major supporter of the pilot program, called it a “raging success.”

“These are not all typical, bike-friendly cities,” said Marianne Fowler, RTC’s senior vice president of federal relations. ”These four communities represent a solid cross-section of America. Even in places like Sheboygan, which doesn’t have urban density, has cold winters, and has had almost no experience with biking and walking initiatives in the past, locals have rapidly become champions because they have seen the real-time effects, the actual benefits to their community.”

Fowler went on to say that with the evidence now in black and white before them, Congressional representatives must now recognize that continued investment in walking in biking represents terrific value for American taxpayers.

“The incongruous thing is that Congress, with a simple, low-cost solution to so many transportation problems right here in front of them, can’t see the people for the cars,” she said.

• Wednesday, July 06th, 2011

Zurich street that is car freeMontreal has a choice to make: design itself to be a car-friendly American city, or a pedestrian, bike and bus friendly European city.

In the Plateau, where the debate over parking has been raging for several years between the Green party and store owners, both sides could learn from Europe.

The city of Zurich found that when cars were banned and the street was turned into a pedestrian zone with trams, foot traffic increased 30-40 percent, actually helping local business.

Source: New York Times

While American cities are synchronizing green lights to improve traffic flow and offering apps to help drivers find parking, many European cities are doing the opposite: creating environments openly hostile to cars. The methods vary, but the mission is clear — to make car use expensive and just plain miserable enough to tilt drivers toward more environmentally friendly modes of transportation.

Cities including Vienna to Munich and Copenhagen have closed vast swaths of streets to car traffic. Barcelona and Paris have had car lanes eroded by popular bike-sharing programs. Drivers in London and Stockholm pay hefty congestion charges just for entering the heart of the city. And over the past two years, dozens of German cities have joined a national network of “environmental zones” where only cars with low carbon dioxide emissions may enter.

“In the United States, there has been much more of a tendency to adapt cities to accommodate driving,” said Peder Jensen, head of the Energy and Transport Group at the European Environment Agency. “Here there has been more movement to make cities more livable for people, to get cities relatively free of cars.”

• Sunday, March 20th, 2011

We hope to see many of you at the Launch party of our Green Neighborhood Plan for Plateau East. Register by April 8th!

Several sites in the Plateau East are working to promote active transportation (walking, cycling and others) and increase the quality of life in the Plateau East.

The Green Neighborhood Plan proposes hundreds of courses of action in order to guide the district and the actors in the progressive development of the Plateau Area Green East.

Discover the upcoming changes for the neighborhood. See how our neighborhood will change!

> Project News: Read the Green Neighborhood Newsletter Plateau East. March 2011

The Green, Active, and Healthy Neighbourhoods project in the Plateau-Est, or Green Plateau-Est, aims to redesign streets and public spaces in order to prioritize walking, cycling, and other modes of active transportation. The project, launched in June 2010, involves a series of participatory activities for citizens during which design solutions for the following priority sites will be proposed and discussed.

> Mont-Royal Avenue East
> Key destinations for neighbourhood youth
> The Masson district
> The STM and Ford district

The project is made up of three phases (Understanding, Exploring, and Deciding). The Green Neighbourhood Plan for the Plateau-Est will be launched in Phase three. The launch is scheduled for mid-april 2011; the exact date will be revealed soon.

• Monday, October 18th, 2010

Transit Oriented DevelopmentA new way of designing cities – away from the car-dependent suburban model – is urgently needed as gasoline gets more and more expensive. TOD is a fancy way of saying: build housing near public transportation hubs.

Source: Caia Hagel, Future Living, Edition 9

Transit oriented developments (TOD) is not a term in Europe (editor’s note: or North America). Small geographical areas, surplus populations, and the unique opportunity after 1945 to “rebuild a bright new world” has made vertical, multi use, mixed income, train dependent, often architecturally innovative building, a natural phenomenon. A similar phenomenon is true in Asia.

In Australia, the traditional urban organisation has followed the “American Dream” model of the 1950s. That is horizontal sprawl across a vast landscape, resulting today in either leafy suburbs featuring large houses and large cars, two or more to a family, which link them to the city via congested highways; or, more detrimentally, suburb ghettos where poverty and social problems resist growth. The British colony cities of North America, Australia and New Zealand were built around dependence on cars, gasoline and oil, and homogeneity.

But this model is proving itself obsolete. On the one side, long traffic jams and commute time, high oil prices and ecological mandates have made the cost of living of this old model both economically unviable and ecologically unsustainable. On the other, perpetuating isolated pockets of lower income and culturally specific living circumstances isolates an aspect of society that through greater integration can foster movement, interaction, safety and prosperity. So what Europeans and Asians have had to implement to survive population explosion is catching on in Australia as a future thinking model of better living.

TOD is the proposed answer to this. They are multi use, mixed income vertical buildings whose axes are a well serviced rail line and communal green spaces that encourage walking, cycling, community interaction, and diversity.