Making communities safe and welcoming to all people regardless of age, income, race or ethnicity was the topic of a panel I moderated at the ICSC Midwest Urban Forum in Detroit this past week. One panelist came from slightly further afield. Urban planner Gil Peñalosa, former Parks Commissioner for the City of Bogota, Colombia (where his brother Enrique served as Bogota’s Mayor) offered a compelling vision and rationale for communities to meet the needs of people from the ages of 8 to 80 – which is why he founded a non-profit based out of Toronto called 8-80 Cities.
- Bike parking. Adequate,convenient places to safely park your bike.
|DO: Consider setting aside adequate parking for bikes.
One parking space can fit up to 12 bikes.
- Bike lanes. This is not just about bike lanes on the commercial street, it is also about outfitting connecting streets with bike lanes that offer safe and convenient access to the district from nearby neighborhoods.
|DO: Do your best to create safe, dedicated bike lanes.
In Long Island City, Queens the dedicated two-way bike paths
offer cyclists safety at a very busy intersection.
- Sidewalks wide enough, safe enough, and comfortable enough for an 8 year old, or an 80 year old, to walk on.
|DO: Even streets without trees can be comfortable for pedestrians.
In Great Barrington, MA awning provide much welcome shade during hot days.
- Slow(er) moving vehicles. Consider traffic calming measures that prioritize pedestrians at crossings.
DO: Bump-outs are a way to give your road a diet…
and narrow streets are a great way to slow down cars.
- Pedestrian lighting. The traditional cobra head light does a great job of lighting streets at night, but what about sidewalks? Pedestrian lighting is scaled to offer light for those who use sidewalks.
DO: Pedestrian lighting is for pedestrians. Cobra heads are for cars.
- Benches. Offer a reprieve for seniors and when placed in front of stores, are more likely to be monitored.
DO: Find out if your businesses can set out benches in front of their stores.
If the regulatory powers that be allow it, it can be a great way to offer kids and elderly much needed reprieve between visits to stores.