It’s not as exciting as the new Bay Bridge that will finally open in the year 3000, but in my own hamlet of Walnut Creek we’re finally getting a pedestrian/bike bridge that will cross over Treat Boulevard. This may seem trifle, but it’s actually a big deal in my neighborhood — where there’s been a large scale construction project going on for the past few years.
You see, there’s a little thing called New Urbanism that’s a big buzz word in city planning circles. The short version of New Urbanism is that instead of building out (as in sprawling suburban homes), you build up to create denser population clusters that have live/work options, shops, and mass transit all in one locale. The idea being that if you provide people with this type of living arrangement, they are less apt to get in their cars to shop, dine and play (to use an overused slogan that every downtown association in the U.S. has adopted).
The large scale result in all this dense population clustering is that it will have a more positive effect on the environment since people won’t be using their car as much, can use mass transit (Busses and trains), and will find entertaining things to do within a stone’s throw of their homes (Bike trails, restaurants, coffee shops, markets and the like).
Who knows if this vision of suburban planning will have the desired results, but since I live in the thick of it, I’ll get a front row seat to watch the changes. And to give you an update on how things are progressing, I took my trusty iPhone and shot some video of me and my dog Genevieve taking a walk to the new bridge that was installed last night.