Community

The People-Centered Community

Rights of pedestrians

Everyone is a pedestrian part of the time. Nearly everyone understands that walking is the one mode of travel that is a basic right. In practice however, that right is jeopardized nearly everywhere the pedestian path crosses the path of the motorized vehicle, as well as those many places where the pedestrian is forced to share the motorist’s path. When the safety and convenience of walking conflicts with other modes of transportation, design decisions must give priority to pedestrians.

Benefits of bicycling

The bicycle is the most energy efficient form of transportation. In terms of potential person flow per lane, they are about equal to walking or buses, and about six times higher than cars as cars are normally used. Parked in bike lots, they require approximately 6% of the space taken by cars.Their potential in the U.S. is almost never realized. The primary reason for low bicycle use is that people are afraid they will be killed by a car.

Improving the pedestrian and bicycling environments

Although the amounts of bicycling and walking aren’t well measured, accurate figures aren’t necessary to know that Sonoma County, like the U.S. as a whole, is abysmally low in these modes of travel. About the only available data comes from large scale surveys, especially from the U.S. Census Bureau. We understand that bikes are used for about 1.7% of commuting trips in Sonoma County, while the walking percentage is 3.1%.

Some of the measures being used to raise these figures are Safe Routes to School and Share-the-Road campaigns, and revisions in public works policies to consider the needs of cyclists and pedestrians. Recognition of fast car traffic as a threat has made traffic calming a popular concept, although implementation is surprisingly slow and tedious. Funding rules that often inhibited Bike-Ped friendly solutions are gradually changing for the better.

Goals that focus on improving the bike-ped environment include: increased safety, access for disadvantaged communities, and building bike infrastructure.

Projects used to reach goals might be: protected bike lanes, concrete barriers, slowing traffic, reducing single occupancy trips in cars, leaning rails, color coded street paint and lights, first and last mile commuting, Quickbuild protected bike lanes to rapidly expand infrastructure projects, biking systems modified for children, elderly and disabled, networks for commuter to long-distance sport biking, and reduced car interactions.