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Elements of Sustainable Transportation

Home Walking


Walking is great exercise and relieves stress. Transportation systems should be designed with walking as the premiere form of mobility.


Differences in texture, color, and 'paving' materials allow flexibility in changing the design or performing construction (i.e. pipe work).




Children need small crossing distances to negotiate. The pedestrian island cuts the crossing distance into two smaller halves, rather than one longer crossing. This reduces long exposure times.


Overhead skywalks connect above ground structures. -Seattle.   This brings up an important issue:  When should different modes of transportation be separated by using underpasses or overpasses?  We suggest that over and under passes for pedestrians and cyclists should be avoided where possible.  Integrating people into street settings helps create livabiltiy and equity in a city.  An exception might be the need for an under or over pass when a busy multi-lane highway passes through a city, or when the origin and destination are already at a different level (like the skyway in the above picture).  For more on this subject, we suggest Charles Landry's 'The Art of City Making.'


One breakdown in a walking system can change the whole experience. Imagine the very old or very young trying to negotiate this curb.
Missoula (this location has been fixed)


One solution to the high curb problem is the 'curb-cut.' The cut cannot be too steep- a problem for wheel chairs. Also, debris can collect in the cut- troublesome in winter with snow and ice.  Missoula


Instead of a curb cut, a curb ramp may be the better option. The greatest benefit may be the signal it sends to the public that people who walk are a priority    Missoula (corner of Hilda and Daly)



Maintenance is especially important in the wintertime for walking facilities. Snow removal for auto access should not create a barrier to walking access.


The design of this crossing forces the walker to face the oncoming traffic, giving better visibility.


This walking-only street is actually the set of stairs heading up to the hilltop houses- 3rd Street in Ketchikan, Alaska. This is an official 'street', maintained by the city.


an example of a pedestrian island


A pedestrian crossing in Juneau, Alaska

creates social space for walkers.



Walkable Communities homepage

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