When we talk about a particular area, are we looking to save time or spend time in that area? In other words, are we just passing through, like on I-270, or are we spending time, like we would in North Bethesda 1 or Pike & Rose?
This article in Better Cities suggests looking at our environment in terms of either Links, in which movement is prioritized as is saving time, or Places, in which destination space and spending time takes precedence.
This has many implications. For example, speed. If you’re trying to create a Place, you need slower speeds. Slower speeds make people safer, so while cars are accommodated (they can still drive, albeit at 25 mph instead of 40 mph) they are not prioritized. People hanging out, walking, riding bikes, taking transit — that is the priority when you’re creating a Place.
Too often, traffic engineers think only about saving time getting from Point A to Point B. They fail to consider the many benefits of encouraging and allowing people to comfortably live, work, and play in their Place. When we make people more important than cars, we create the walkable, sustainable, successful community in the White Flint area that we all want.