The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Planning and Environmental Impact Design: from EIA to EID
Chapter: Chapter 10 Sustainable green transport

An ideal transportation landscape

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The author's dream 

I dream of a town where citizens have access to public transport via environmentally pleasant 'green' routes, for walking, cycling, riding, skating or canoeing. While waiting for a bus or train, it should be possible to sit in comfort, sometimes in the sun and amongst flowers. Coffee and newspapers should be on sale. There should be a shelter with seats. The young, the old, the poor and the dispossessed should have access to public transport or green transport. Well-used walks should enjoy the benefit of visual policing and should be safe from the dangers of drunk drivers, joy-riders and runaway trucks. Towns must have provision for private cars. Because cars are so mobile, roads can be circuitous. Busy loop roads are better than busy main-streets. From the loops, cars should be able to penetrate urban areas rather than traverse them. The degree of permeability to various transport modes will depend on the predominant land use: universities should be extremely permeable to bicycles and public transport; low density residential areas need to be permeable to all transport modes; busy shopping centres need every possible type of transport; food superstores must be accessible to private cars. Road planning cannot and should not be separated from other aspects of planning. So road designers must think about pedestrians, nature reserves, water management, recreation, architecture and the noble art of bridge design. They can learn from their medieval predecessors who understood that engineering to be the exercise of ingenuity: The great bridges had a spiritual and not merely a utilitarian significance: they were works of charity and of piety, the gift of benefactors or subscribed by the public through indulgences. Many of them had chapels or even resident hermits. (Rackham, 1990:268) Some ways should please by their pure functionality. Others should be the yield of art and devotion, to provide for the many types of traffic which now exist. For the soul, to travel is better than to arrive.