How context sensitive streets can help create more livable communities; some of the varied transportation needs and objectives that are typically considered in CSSD.
1.2 How Can Context Sensitive Streets Help Create a More Livable Community?
Many communities in the Atlanta Region and across the U.S. realize that designing
neighborhoods, sub-divisions, business districts and shopping centers around
the automobile has diminished, not enhanced the quality of life. Some of the
basic transportation elements that must be restored to improve community livability
• A connected network of sidewalks and bike routes,
• Safe, dependable and accessible travel options for community members
who cannot afford a car or can't drive,
• Affordable transit that gets people to job centers, retail centers,
and recreation facilities,
• Traffic management in neighborhoods, "main" streets, shopping
centers and downtowns, that is compatible with bicycling and walking.
While the car offers us a high level of accessibility, people's ability to
move and to reach destinations is often constrained by traffic congestion. An
important factor in our decision to use other modes of transportation is based
on how long one could be stuck in traffic on the highways and freeways. Walking
and bicycling, on the other hand, offer many people cost effective personal
mobility, yet there are very few places that are easily accessible to non-motorized
modes of travel. Many children can ride bikes in their neighborhoods, but visiting
friends 1-2 miles away or riding to school is difficult or not safe, particularly
if the trip involves crossing an arterial.
Most people opt not to walk or bike because the route to the store or park
is indirect, does not have sidewalks and there are too many fast cars competing
for the road space. Taking the bus can be equally frustrating. The bus stop
is frequently too far from work or home, or the bus service is infrequent or
slow, and few amenities are available. (Compare these travel conditions to the
expectations, comfort features, and amenity options available for motorists:
identified and paved path / travel lane, way-finding signs, carpeting, entertainment,
music and news, climate control, many places to stop to refuel, and a even place
to rest your beverage!) These are only a few of the varying and valid transportation
needs and objectives of a community that are typically considered in Context
Sensitive Street Design (CSSD). Additionally, CSSD designers and planners must
also take into account the role of the entire right-of-way as public space,
and the role of the street in shaping the character, function and livability
of adjacent land uses and neighborhoods.