|Connected, dense street grids promote alternative transportation|
I came across a great presentation from UConn's Norm Garrick on the link between the street grid and the walkability and bikeability of a community. It's instructive to see which areas of Norwalk are most conducive to building livable communities.
The overall learning isn't rocket science: the denser a neighborhood's street grid, the easier it is to walk around. Cul de sacs and isolated developments make it all-but-impossible to get from place to place without a car.
The 1/2 mile from SoNo station studied
To see how this relates to Norwalk, I looked at a 1/2 mile radius around South Norwalk train station, generally considered to be the radius of transit-oriented development.
|Walking and biking rates are higher in denser neighborhoods. South Norwalk's 130 intersections/mi^2|
This area has, by my count, 130 intersections per square mile, a density in the middle-range of Norm Garrick's chart. We would expect about 9% of commuters to take transit, 6% to walk and 4% to bike. These figures sound about right for South Norwalk. (Update: We actually do much better. 25% take transit and 7% walk.)
What do these results mean for the goals of promoting walking, biking and transit in Norwalk?
- #1, it shows the importance of building a dense street grid. While there are limited options for new roads, new footpaths should be established wherever we can.
- #2, mixed-use development should be targeted for the areas where livable communities are most likely to thrive.
- #3, when parcels of land are redeveloped, a dense, connected system of paths or roads should be part of the plan.