I went on a walk through downtown Paso Robles today. It was led by a fellow whose job is to point out to the people in towns and villages across the country that we are entering a new era and they must look at the infrastructure development in a new way. He’s earned his stripes as he has done that walk 2,448 times so far.
The villages hire him to show what they’ve done right and wrong over the years and how to plan for future development. We walked about 20 blocks around the center of town. He noted that the towns must now think about how to handle more WALKING PEOPLE.
(Pic) The crowd gathers for a walk around Paso Robles, CA.
In the past, the villages had lots of land and money so when they did something wrong in design/development it did not matter much. They could err without disaster.
The change that needs to come, he says, is for villages to be much more aware about how people can walk around or ride their bikes to visit downtown to shop or entertain themselves rather than always driving to accomplish those tasks. In fact, many businesses now have drive-through capabilities. This makes it difficult for people on foot to do business.
I think he is talking about the future price of gasoline, but he did not say that. “Profound changes” he said about American villages of the future.
For example, we need to think about how to do a better job with parking cars in the downtown area. The safest way is to back into a diagonal spot. The most accommodating type of parking is at a 90 degree angle that leaves space for more cars to park and which is also safer than diagonal excluding the backing in method.
He pointed at a 30 mph sign in the middle of our town and said, “The safest speed is at 20 mpg for pedestrians and drivers. A pedestrian had a 90% chance of surviving being hit at 20 mph but only a50% chance at 30 mph.” I never even thought of that before. I believe there will be a lot of things that come up in the next 20 years that we never thought much about before.
Like the idea that pedestrians, not automobiles, need to be at the forefront of future planning.