Monday August 23, 2010
It’s a old question, and usually involves a chicken. But why does a person cross the road? To get to a friend’s house? To check a mailbox? To get to a park? All fine answers, but instead of why, let’s talk about how.
How did the person cross the road? Looking at the roads in many of today’s neighborhoods has to make you wonder how some people make it back and forth safely. In response to zoning changes, streets over time have become wider and wider to accommodate more cars and higher traffic speeds. But what about people?
Notice it. How does a neighborhood with wide roads make you feel? Does it make you want to park your car and walk around? Do you feel safe when you walk across the street with your children? In neighborhoods designed with cars in mind, probably not. Would a neighborhood with narrower roads make it feel more pedestrian friendly? We think so. We build neighborhoods that are made for more than just driving through – they’re made for living in.
Planning a neighborhood scaled for people requires the art of blending nature with design. Walk through Walden, Millcreek, or Veranda and you can feel the difference. The streets are narrower, which makes cars slow down a little and makes crossing the street seem a little less daunting. Sidewalks and green spaces are included, which encourage walking and spending time outdoors. Many homes are built with the garage in back and feature a front porch – meaning that when you walk down the streets of Veranda, you’ll be able to wave at your neighbor – not just their car. What’s more, neighborhoods like Florin Hill and Walden Crossroads offer shops and offices right at your fingertips – meaning you can use your car that much less. Here at Charter Homes, we believe walkable communities create healthy cities and healthy people – and they’re good for the environment.
These days, it’s harder to get the zoning changed to build narrow roads. You still have to make sure that emergency vehicles can get up and down the roads safely, that buses can navigate the turns and that parking on the street is avoided on one side of the road. But, with the art of compromise, all that can be accomplished through forward-thinking townships and neighborhood plans that are friendly for driving, walking and living.
Lots of sidewalks and smaller streets allow you to enjoy living in your neighborhood.