Tag Archives: urbanism

Have you done your homework?

The city of Seattle has Transportation and Pedestrian Safety Committees and a Pedestrian Master Plan. “The plan (a summary you can find here) sets goals and performance measures for making Seattle a more walkable city and reducing the number of car-pedestrian accidents. The plan was developed with help from a citizens’ advisory group.” (see this blog post)

So do a bit of reading about walkability, urban design, and design guidelines and join the discussion. Then let’s debate the merits of what you have read. What specifically is wrong with Seattle’s plan or what do you like about it?

Our aim is to prevent in Eastwood the kind of disaster that happened at Lodi and Butternut.

How about Washington, DC? Did you know that the whole city is booming? Why? In large part it’s due to its walkability. Here’s another article whose points might be debated: Walkability = livability = billions.  Read that article – copyrighted by The Washington Post Writers Group – and find this assertion:

(C)ities, competing, will likely keep heeding advice to lure creative young professionals; in fact, those that don’t offer true walkable urbanism, … are “probably destined” to lose out economically.

All across this country, cities are waking up the facts that European cities have known for decades: when mass transit is subsidized like highways are, when cities are valued, when a diversity of businesses that are easy to get to on foot are encouraged to develop, then cities are economically healthier, its residents are physically healthier, and communities are more cohesive.

Do your homework. Read the above articles, and more. And come back and share what you’ve read. Let’s educate ourselves, others, and in the process have some healthy discussion about walkability and its impact.

The challenge is to bring an article from a reputable source that is stating that walkability is not good for the economic health of communities. See if you can find any studies that show that single-use, suburban-style buildings set back in a big parking lot are good for urban neighborhoods. Please link (cite) your sources so the rest of us can read what you’ve found. It’s important to back claims with sources – that way our discussions remain focused.

– Lonnie and Jessica

A last-century response to a current problem

Sean Kirst recently wrote an article, The Dinosaur: More success by design, citing one of his previous articles, The Dinosaur, by design, that reinforces that idea that we have a prime example in our town of a business that works, despite all the ways people think it should not work. And that’s the Dinosaur, now the #1 barbecue in the country. And it’s working by design.

Sean said in 2005:

Sitting in the car Thursday, watching as men and women flowed in and out of the Dinosaur, it struck me that people go there because it offers something unique – and because it embraces, rather than fears, authentic city ambiance. The funny thing is, if the Dinosaur went by the Walgreens rules (referring to Walgreens “need” for suburban, big-box style development – ed.) , a true Syracuse phenomenon would probably dry up and close its doors.

Sean reminds us that many of our pre-conceived notions of what makes a business work just fall apart in the face of this reality: a restaurant putting out top-notch food that caters to a serious diversity of people can be a destination. It doesn’t need to demolish a building to be successful. It doesn’t need acres of blacktop in front of it. It doesn’t need to alter the streetscape. It fits right in with the city and people come from all over to be there. And they aren’t afraid, and they don’t complain about having to walk a few blocks from their parking spot to get there. (They gotta do something to burn off the calories they’re about to eat!) This is what a real city is about.

But, sadly, Mayor Driscoll is singing the old last-century tune that has ruined much of Syracuse (and the fabric of countless cities across the country): demolish, demolish, demolish. Pave paradise, put up another drug store, and…  you won’t know what city you’re in any more. And you certainly won’t have economic development, because your money will be siphoned off to the coffers of a big corporation in another state.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again:

How difficult is that?

Keep up the good work Sean! We need you!

W.E. Co-hosts mayoral candidate forum


Join the discussion with mayoral candidates focusing on

Wednesday, June 17
6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.: refreshments
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.: program

SUNY Oswego Metro Center
Corner of N. Salina and W. Washington Streets  MAP


CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR – all agreed to attend:
Alfonso Davis, Carmen Harlow, Otis Jennings, Steven Kimatian, Stephanie Miner, Joe Nicoletti

Candidates will be asked to respond briefly to the following three questions, followed by an open forum.

1) A key contributor to making a city sustainable and livable is good urban design and planning.  As mayor, what principles and policies will you use to ensure that the city of Syracuse will safeguard and strengthen the elements of good urban design it already has, add more wherever possible and make Syracuse the national model for sustainability?

2) Numerous documents containing plans for sustainable development of all or parts of our city, created by citizen groups or consultants, already exist at City Hall. James Street Overlay District Guidelines and a proposal for a Director of Sustainability are examples.  What will you do to recover, implement, and, most of all, enforce, what is still valuable in these documents?

3) Considering any future planning for a sustainable and livable city that might occur during your administration, how will you ensure that Syracuse residents will have ample opportunity to contribute, and that their opportunity to react and give input continues as those plans are carried out and enforced?

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