USH 12 Middleton Bypass | Middleton, WI

Planning and Creating Pedestrian-Friendly Environments

Jason Valerius, AICP | with 0 Comments

Planning and Creating Pedestrian-Friendly Environments

On face value, a sidewalk is simply a means to an end, a way for people to walk safely from point A to point B.  But there is more to the design of the sidewalk, and everything around it, which influences whether people will choose to use it.  And if that sidewalk is in your downtown commercial district, trust me, you want people using it. 

In an article by Jordan Golson, he references a report by the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association on the way developers can create better “walkability.” Walkability, according to Golson, is a fancy way of saying “pedestrian friendliness.”
As described in the article, pedestrian-friendliness is about much more than having a safe sidewalk – it is about creating a place that is pleasant and inviting.  When MSA worked with the Village of Oregon, Wisconsin, a suburb of Madison, to replace their historic downtown streets, improving the pedestrian environment was a priority for the village.  To accomplish this task, we designed wider sidewalks, areas for seating and interaction, green spaces, and informational signage all along the street.
In Mauston and Cross Plains, Wisconsin, we developed design standards for private sites and buildings to improve walkability.  Requirements to keep buildings close to the sidewalk, to have ample windows facing the street, and encouragements to use awnings over doorways are all about making the place inviting and “walkable”.
The concept of walkability is something more communities should embrace. Learn more about our experience with walkability improvements through our municipal infrastructure and planning sections.
Are you a community leader looking to enhance your community’s walkability?  We can help!  MSA’s plans and street reconstruction projects have helped hundreds of communities improve their walkability.  For more information on planning and designing for pedestrian friendliness, contact Jason Valerius, AICP.

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