Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pedestrian Oriented Design

The reason staff will be discussing pedestrian walkway design characteristics during the next Planning Commission meeting is because of the importance design plays in making these connections useful, effective, comfortable to use, and safe.

Pedestrian walkways will be required as part of the complex pedestrian transportation system, not as trails for pastime use. This is an important distinction, as trails are primarily a recreational amenity, and the walkway connections that are proposed for new subdivisions are intended to help people move around in Oak Harbor.

The importance of increased pedestrian oriented design in our communities for public health reasons has been highlighted for a number of years now. While this is an important aspect of creating an effective and efficient pedestrian network in Oak Harbor, it is not the sole reason for such changes to the OHMC as will be discussed by the Planning Commission.

It is valuable to remember that people without access to vehicles (many seniors, youth, people that can not afford a private vehicle, and some persons with disabilities) require an infrastructure system that allows them to move throughout their community; and pedestrian walkways are a significant part of that system.

In an effort to keep the design standards for subdivisions concise and easily understood, staff will be focusing on a few key characteristics:
1) walkway locations;
2) walkway width;
3) surface of the walkway
4) sight lines; and,
5) lighting.

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