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Thursday, October 02 2014 @ 12:19 AM UTC

What makes a place "walkable"

Biking Elsewhereby Jeff Speck, Greater Greater Washington

DC resident Jeff Speck wrote Suburban Nation, the best-selling book about city planning since Jane Jacobs. His new book, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time comes out on November 13. Greater Greater Washington is pleased to present 3 weekly excerpts from the book.
...

Across the street from our restaurant, we waited for the light to change, lost in conversation. Maybe a minute passed before we saw the pushbutton signal request. So we pushed it. The conversation advanced for another minute or so. Finally, we gave up and jaywalked. About the same time, a car careened around the corner at perhaps forty-five miles per hour, on a street that had been widened to ease traffic.

The resulting near-miss fortunately left no scars, but it will not be forgotten. Stroller jaywalking is a surefire way to feel like a bad parent, especially when it goes awry. The only consolation this time was that I was in a position to do something about it.

As I write these words
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Romans drive a fraction of the miles that Americans do. A friend of ours who came here to work in the US Embassy bought a car when he arrived, out of habit. Now it sits in his courtyard, a target for pigeons. This tumultuous urban landscape, which fails to meet any conventional American measure of "pedestrian friendliness," is a walker's paradise. So what's going on here?
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Interested in learning more about what makes a place walkable? Join the Coalition for Smarter Growth at Politics and Prose on Saturday, November 17 at 6 pm [in DC] for a discussion with Jeff. The event is free and open to the pubilc; no RSVP is required.

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/16618/what-makes-a-place-walkable/

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