Sitting just outside the perimeter of the urban core, traditional urban neighborhoods play an important role in the success of the city due to their high levels of ownership and long-term investment in the city. These neighborhoods commonly offer quieter streets, a pedestrian friendly atmosphere, and additional private space for residents.
This article discusses some of the physical design features which make urban neighborhoods pedestrian friendly. A walk through Lockerbie Square, one of Indianapolis’ well known historic neighborhoods, provides inspiration for this post.
1. Tree Canopy Large canopy trees help provide visual enclosure to the street and also have many environmental benefits which relate directly to water quality, energy efficiency, and air quality.
2. On Street Parking On street parallel parking helps provide a buffer between the roadway and the pedestrian zone while efficiently utilizing the existing street R.O.W. The additional use of the road also helps to slow vehicular traffic when individuals access their vehicles.
3. Travel Lane Size A narrow travel lane promotes slower vehicular traffic and lowers the speed differential between vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians. Streets with lower speeds promote safer cycling and reduce the need for separation between vehicles and bicycles.
4. Building Placement Placing the front of the building in close proximity to the street helps encourage activity between the pedestrian zone and the front steps of the residence. Narrow lots increase the frequency of front doors and the number of residents that watch over the street.
5. Architectural Design The inclusion of a front porch and an actively used room on the front of the residence, such as a living or family room, is important to help provide visual access to and from the street. Refined architectural detail or styling adds to the interests of the residence and provides greater incentive for walking throughout the neighborhood.
6. Alleys Alleys offer additional functionality to the neighborhood by providing a dedicated service entry, the addition of a secondary pedestrian walk, and the opportunity to increase water quality for the neighborhood.
7. Walking Paths The quality of a walking path is often determined by its context. All of the design features listed above are important in establishing a safe, enjoyable, and well-utilized pedestrian zone. A buffer between the vehicular path and walking path is commonly desirable to provide separation between vehicular and pedestrian zones.
Overall, these design features must be incorporated to form a cohesive pattern which emphasizes the scale of pedestrians and bicycles rather than the automobile. Other social, economic, and environmental factors provide additional layers of consideration when creating successful urban neighborhoods. Additional information regarding the Lockerbie Neighborhood can be found through the following link. http://www.lockerbiesquare.org/