A city that encourages it city-zens to walk is a winner

The hillside town of Spoleto, Italy is a challenge to walk.  Imagine beautiful continuous, steep hills throughout the historical center.

As residents began to abandon the hassles of parking in the older town for the new malls in the peripheral areas, the Spoleto city planning department went to work brainstorming ideas to invite folks of all ages to visit, shop and live in “centro storico”.

So what did they do to motivate residents and tourists to walk those steep hills?  The city invested significant funds into creating alternative mobility, which disincentivizes cars and motivates priority for pedestrians:

  • created multiple underground parking right outside of town with a connected moving walking, protective from the elements of weather
  • developed a system of these protective moving walkways, allowing residents in town to traverse one level of the city to another
  • designed well place maps to indicate walking paths, directions and distances between sights and strets
  • built a beautiful, extended outdoor escalator system, placed alongside the ancient walls of the city, providing breathtaking views

From 8 to 80 years old, anyone can access and enjoy this Umbrian town by leaving the car behind and going for a walk.

Instagram

 

Photo credit: Aminah Ricks

Solar + Bike Power

Solar power + Bike sharing =  Sweet Home Chicago!

For the future health of our cities and its residents, solar power and urban cycling are a mighty combination to be imitated, over and over, across the globe, until instead of a trend it is the reality.

 

Photo Credit: Aminah Ricks

https://www.divvybikes.com/

Ground-up Transportation
In Belize hitch hiking is mainstream and a very accepted carpooling system of sharing transportation in a country where most do not own cars

In Belize hitch hiking is mainstream and a very accepted carpooling system of sharing transportation in a country where most do not own cars

 

 

Cycling, good for the health of our cities and ourselves

In Brooklyn cycling is an easy and agile way to get around, good for the health of our cities and ourselves

Refurbished school buses serve as public transportation in Belize

Refurbished school buses serve as public transportation in Belize

Subways are the fastest and most efficient way to move thousands, daily through our cities

Subways are the fastest and most efficient way to move thousands, daily through Brooklyn and NYC

 

Photography Credit:  Aminah Ricks

Cycling Creates Currency

Urban cycling supports sustainable cities and ensures the health of its city-zens.  Yet at times it comes up in controversial conversations as well, such as cycling vs car lanes, helmet regulations, you get the idea.

Our friends at Momentum Mag propose yet another benefit of urban cycling to consider that is purely about dollars and cents.  They suggest a positive correlation between the presence of city cyclists and upticks in the economies of local shops.

An example is an art gallery owner in Memphis, Pat Brown, who pinned her hopes on “community members who were determined to transform Broad Avenue from a fast-moving thoroughfare, where traffic whizzed past boarded-up storefronts at 50 mph (80 km/h), into a bustling arts district”.

The local nonprofit group Livable Memphis, together with the Broad Avenue Arts District, put in a temporary cycling lane that ran down the street in front of her gallery.  After the protected bike lane opened, a local art walk that typically drew only 1,000 people attracted 15,000.  How’s that for thriving, not just surviving in these tough economic times.

And this trend is worldwide. Momentum reports “Researchers in Muenster, Germany suggest that because bicyclists buy smaller quantities and thus shop more frequently, they’re exposed more often to temptation – more likely to get extra items that aren’t on the shopping list. So it’s not surprising that a survey of 1,200 consumers in Bern, Switzerland, found that businesses made more profit per square meter of bike parking ($9,900 per year) than car parking ($8,800).”

Cycling with its slower travel patterns through commercial areas, economically benefits local businesses.  Sometimes, two wheels are better than four!

 

Photo Credit: Momentum Mag

Using Our Feet for Transport – Walk Your City

Walk [Your City] wants to encourage all city residents to get to know their city via their feet, therefore making cities more accessible and affordable for everyone.

“Want to get more feet on the street? Here are the tools you’ll need to plan, create, and install an effective Walk [Your City] campaign, tailored to your goals and community context.” Here’s a page on how to get started

Photo Credit: Emerson-Alecrim in San Paolo, Brazil

All Aboard the Mollie Bus!

You are in the mood to grocery shop. . . but not in the mood to figure out if you should drive, bike or take public transportation?

In San Francisco, there is an initiative that takes this question, out of the equation.

Mollie Stone’s chain of grocery stores has launched the Mollie Bus, a free service that takes you home from the grocery store, to your front door.

On their website, this is how they describe this alternative transport:

Here’s how it works:

  1. You catch it in front of the store.
  2. Your receipt is your bus ticket.  Just get on with your bag, and you’re on your way.
  3. It takes you to your doorstep.  Just tell the driver where you live.
  4. Please remember, it’s not a taxi.  It takes you home, but it won’t pick you up.

We think this is an idea worth replicating.

 

Photography Credit: Aminah Ricks

Walk Score – What is yours?

No two cities are alike.  Neither are all the neighborhoods within each city.  Going further, depending on your particular address within a neighborhood, your walkability and ease of access to public transportation, the grocery store, bank and favorite coffee shop determine your quality of life or lack thereof.

Walk Score is an impressive algorithm that generates a score of walkability by address.  If you live in Canada, Australia or the United States, all you have to do is plug in your location.  Find out if you live in a Walkers Paradise now.

Visit Walk Score

Public Transportation Fail – Detroiter walks 21 miles a day for work

Imagine walking almost the equivalent of a marathon, each day, back and forth to work.  James Robertson, 56 year old, does just that while living in Detroit.  After problems with his car, he had to resort to a short bus ride plus a long walk to maintain his employment with a factory outside of town.

Share your tough or easy commute story.  We want to know how your city serves you daily, please feel free to comment below.

B9315852091Z.1_20150131173627_000_GHB9QTH3A.1-0                                                     Photo and image courtesy of Detroit Free Press

Read the Detroit Free Press’s article written by Bill Laitner.  Discover how a failure in public transportation affects so many, on a daily basis with limited bus routes and no other options for those who cannot afford a car.

Elevating City Life