Advocates of New Urbanist and neo-traditional planning concepts include street connectivity as a key component for good neighborhood design. Street networks that are more grid-like are preferred over networks that include many cul-de-sacs and long blocks, thus increasing distances between destinations. The increased distances are thought to discourage walking and bicycling and, thus, physical activity.
Designing With Transit is written to foster and facilitate these positive trends. It is a tool kit, a road map for East Bay communities that want to refocus on transit. It is not a blueprint for a community, because each community is different and must develop its own approaches. Designing With Transit outlines key concepts for communities to consider as they improve their transit-friendliness. It highlights key planning and engineering steps and warns of pitfalls to avoid. It illustrates how the bus system as well as the rail system is integral to East Bay transit (see Chapter 2, “The East Bay Transit System”). Designing With Transit demonstrates that East Bay and Bay Area communities are already taking steps towards greater transit-friendliness.
Urban planners and public health advocates alike decry sprawl for prodding Americans to drive their cars from anywhere to everywhere. Car-dependent cities and suburbs, critics charge, spawn a sedentary lifestyle and associated health problems like obesity, adding as much as $76 billion annually to U.S. medical expenses by one estimate. Eight-lane thoroughfares, serpentine roads, incomplete sidewalk networks, far-flung retail plazas, campus-style business parks, and other distinguishing traits of contemporary America are said to conspire against walking and bicycling. However, are their influences serious enough to warrant radical changes in how we design communities of the future?
Numerous studies have examined the effects of built environments on motorized travel, however far less attention has been given to impacts on walking and bicycling. Probing effects on non-motorized transport (NMT) requires a different analytical approach. For one, walk and bicycle trips are…