Friday, April 17, 2009

A Walkable Oklahoma City

More about making Oklahoma City walkable in a minute but the coverage of a recent talk by Jeff Speck, expert at the walkablization of cities, gets a mitebreathless:
The presentation proved a real eye opener for most audience members as Speck concluded Oklahoma City is not a walkable community, nor will it be, unless changes are made.

Yes. Changes. They must be made. If we're to change. You can just about see the audience move closer to its collective seat edge:
Speck warned that a city’s success is tied directly to whether the city is walkable – or pedestrian friendly – in order to attract younger people to the area.

Warnings now. Ominous. Making a city more walkable must be important. Very important.
This is a crisis we need to change, we want to change,” Speck said. “I’m here because your leadership wants to change.

Oh, then it's a crisis. Goodness. Time to wring our hands.

Look, I'm sure living in a walkable city is a very important issue to many people but there's a reason why Oklahoma City isn't as walkable as, well, let's just say it, Manhattan, since that's seems to be the model cities that aren't Manhattan want to emulate, and that's freedom. We have no natural boundaries, like rivers or tidal estuaries, to contain our growth and so we've spread out. Cheap, plentiful fuel, and cheap, plentiful automobiles allowed for highways to carry us out of the city and into the suburbs where we seem to like it just fine, thank you very much. It would be nice to have a more walkable city but let's not kid ourselves: we're as we are because that's the way we want to be.

And if we never become more walkabe, it'll hardly be crisis.

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