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The pedestrian mode of transportation invites human contact that automobile transportation precludes.
Ray Oldenburg

Our Programs: Livability


A place that is a magnet for people – who bring vitality, character, and commerce to the community,


or a town that is little more than a funnel for speeding cars.

People and Cars

  • Cars and people can and must coexist. Livable communities, however, are designed around pedestrians. Most places look like they do because for more than a half century traffic engineers – whose mission is to move cars conveniently – have had a disproportionate say in the design of our towns. Privileging cars can lead to unsafe, fractured communities.

  • Livable places are safe for walkers, and they feature amenities for travelers on foot, such as wide sidewalks, clear and direct pedestrian routes, benches, parks, store windows for browsing, helpful signage, and outdoor cafes. Drive-thru franchises and parking garages are discouraged.

  • Walkable communities include convenient public transit, whether bus or rail, and transit stops are tasteful and dignified. People aren’t forced to drive. More towns and businesses are providing free shuttles to reduce workers’ and visitors’ dependence on cars.

  • If you’re trying to develop a streetscape that encourages people to stroll and shop, why make it easy for cars to pass through quickly? Slow cars down using roundabouts, narrow streets, and other traffic-calming devices.

  • Sidewalks filled with people, as well as store windows that serve as the street’s "eyes," project a safer image. Few things look more threatening or economically disheartening than a dreary Main Street, dotted with empty lots, and not a pedestrian in sight. Rule: More people downtown attract more people downtown!