Monday, November 3, 2014

AARP Livability Fact Sheets great resource for communities working on complete streets and livability

The October 2014 FHWA Livability Newsletter included an excellent resource for those working in Lee County on complete streets and livability issues. Click here for the series of 11 fact sheets. It's definitely a resource you want to save and have handy, and share with everyone on your team.  Note:  the Fact Sheets have been added to BWL's blog "key links".  Kudos to AARP for developing such an easy-to-read and use resource.

AARP Livability Fact Sheets  (article In newsletter by Melissa Stanton, Project Manager and Editor, AARP Education and Outreach, Livable Communities)

AARP Livable Communities has partnered with the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute to create the AARP Livability Fact Sheet series, a package of comprehensive, easy-to-read livability resources. The fact sheets can be used by community leaders, policy makers, transportation planners, citizen activists, and others to learn what makes a city, town, or neighborhood a great place for people of all ages.
"We're focusing on the built environment," explains Jeanne Anthony, project advisor for AARP Livable Communities. "How roadways are laid out, how property is zoned, the availability of sidewalks, and even the presence of street trees all impact a community's livability."
Each fact sheet in the 11-part series is a four-page PDF document that can be read online or printed and distributed. Each fact sheet is introduced by a one-page summary. The complete series is housed at
"The format is concise and accessible so the fact sheets can serve both experienced professionals as well as people for whom road diets, form-based code, and modern roundabouts are unfamiliar topics," says Anthony.
Each fact sheet follows the same structure: introduce the subject; address and resolve any myths and misconceptions; and then provide relevant advice, tips, and success stories.
The series covers the following topics:
  • Bicycling - Half of all trips taken in the U.S. are 3 miles or less, yet only 3 percent of commuting trips are made by bicycle. The bicycle mode share can grow by helping communities embrace bicycling as a healthy and viable transportation option.
  • Density - Compact, mixed-use communities that are walkable, bicycle-friendly, and transit-oriented are thriving, in large part because that is where baby boomers and young adults want to live. It is time to rethink what defines dense population centers.
  • Economic Development - A more balanced transportation system that allows people to walk, bicycle, or use public transit in addition to or instead of a car both saves and earns money. Lessons include success stories from Oregon, Florida, California, and elsewhere.
  • Form-Based Code - By using physical form as an organizing principle for zoning rather than the separation of land uses, form-based code offers a powerful alternative to conventional zoning.
  • Modern Roundabouts - Roundabouts, which are circular intersections that move traffic counterclockwise around a central island, can help reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries.
  • Parking - The average American household has 1.9 vehicles, and finding a place to put them when not in use consumes land, time, and money. This fact sheet offers suggestions for a better approach to parking.
  • Revitalization Without Displacement - As communities throughout the U.S. are redeveloped to become more walkable and livable, the efforts risk displacing current and often longtime residents and businesses. This fact sheet offers strategies to keep that from happening.
  • Road Diets - Supersized, multi-lane roadways are fast-moving, unattractive, and often impossible to cross. To protect pedestrians and drivers, many communities are putting their roads on "diets" by reducing street widths and vehicle lanes.
  • Sidewalks - As public spaces, sidewalks are the front steps to a community. It makes little sense that, in so many neighborhoods, sidewalks are rare or non-existent.
  • Street Trees - To quote a Chinese proverb, "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." This fact sheet explains why tree-lined streets matter.
  • Traffic Calming - Streets designed for fast-moving traffic undermine the ability of people to interact and get around regardless of their mode of transportation. Smarter transportation design moves traffic while keeping communities safe and connected.
AARP Livable Communities publishes a resource-filled website and free monthly e-newsletter. Follow the team on Twitter via @LivableCmnty.

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