The Garden Guide

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

Non-motorized transport

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Human powered transport 

Remembering the etymology of 'road' from 'ride', one of the first principles in planning a family of routeways should be to pay attention to non-motorised transport. Each transport mode produces a distinctive pattern of positive and negative side effects. Each should be designed with respect to that pattern. Pavements, for foot and wheeled traffic, create the essential public space in every city, with the possible exception of some 'modern' American towns. The author of The geography of nowhere gives the following description of his hometown: Saratoga, like virtually every other town in America, has become one big automobile storage depot that incidentally contains other things... This part of town is not friendly to pedestrians. Not that it's against the law to walk here, only that no one would have much reason to walk here unless his car broke down... There are no sidewalks out here on South Broadway, just strings of parking lots punctuated by curb cuts (Kunstler 1993: 135). Pavements should be the places where people meet for the social and business functions which make cities worthwhile. Most social relationships are difficult and pavement planning is very difficult. In our lives, we want to be socially close, socially apart and mixed in all sorts of ways. On the public pavements of our cities, we want traffic modes to be close, apart and mixed in all sorts of ways. Streets should have different characters and, as with open space planning (page...), colours can be used to symbolise intended street character [Fig 10.5]. 10.5 Colours can be used to symbolise intended street character. There may be a few places where it is necessary to have a dozen separate surfaces for pedestrians, joggers, child cyclists, adult cyclists, motor cyclists, wheel chairs, horse-riders, skaters, private cars, delivery vehicles, through traffic, busses and taxis [Fig 10.6]. 10.6 Since it would be crazy to have separate tracks for each of the transport modes shown on the diagram, we have to plan ways of sharing paved surfaces. And there may be places where 12 transport modes can share one pavement. But normally we should use great ingenuity. The aim is to make pavements which can be shared in different ways. There needs to be greater respect for the past, a greater sensitivity to context and a greater diversity of transport route types. We need experts in each route-type and we need experts in EID who can integrate them with each other and with the environment.