Tuesday, March 11, 2014
In a great place - make a great place
This is my recommendation for Swampscott's town development meeting. Swampscott is a small town in beautiful place by the ocean and I would love to be able to walk around town more. Walkable communities are healthier having lower rates of obesity and diabetes, property values are higher because people want to live in walkable communities and there aren't enough of them. To get to a walkable community we need to develop infrastructure for walking and bicycling like more sidewalks and trails. We need to build mixed use higher density living/working/shopping/recreation zones so that people live and work close to things they want to walk to. Higher density mixed use development is made by permitting taller buildings with street level shopping, office and condo living at higher levels. The higher density needs to be offset by more public green spaces which will benefit the entire community more than individual back yards. And higher density living frees up more space for public use. And we should supply paid parking. Charging market rates for parking ensures that there is parking when you need it and discourages driving when you don't need to. Switching people from cars to foot creates a positive feedback loop because when more people walk drivers expect walkers and reduce pedestrian accidents which makes more people want to walk. Mixed use development is also lower crime because multiple uses like living/working/shopping put more eyes on the street at different times keeping a watch on things. Swampscott is in a great place - let's make it a great place.