Barry Watkins, 13 June 2018
Conventional Land Development Codes, like the current codes that govern most of the City of Rockledge, tend to create single-use pods of development that hyper-separate office uses from retail, retail from residential, single-family residential from multi-family, and so on. A problem with the hyper-separation is it creates a lot of driving. Where we work is often way too far from where we live to walk there. We can’t walk to go shopping from work or home… Conventional, single-use zoning forces us to drive to things just to meet daily needs. The SmartCode we are advocating as a part of our proposed Walkability Plan for Rockledge takes a different approach. Walkable neighborhoods in the SmartCode use mixed-use zones called Transect zones to order the built environment. With Transect zones, T-zones for short, residential and compatible commercial can coexist on the same block or even the same building. Each SmartCode neighborhood contains a combination of mixed-use T-Zones. This allows neighborhood-friendly commercial uses to locate around the corner from homes within reasonable walking distances from each other. It’s not “anything goes”. Each T-zone preserves the desired character of the portion of the neighborhood in which it resides by controlling building heights, setbacks, allowed specific uses, building types, and even architecture, and there are other important provisions in the SmartCode that ensure compatibility and neighborly behavior between the various uses that are allowed to coexist in a walkable neighborhood. #SmartCodeBrevard
More about mixed-use and transect zoning: Let’s Mix It Up!
Barry Watkins, 10 June 2018
While we are planning Village Centers around the city let’s also think about Town Centers. Town Centers can be designed to serve a larger area and provide regionally important amenities. One important function of a Town Center could be to provide local employment opportunities, helping to create a jobs-housing balance within about a 3 mile radius. This helps to shorten commutes, reduce vehicle miles on our regional highways, boost the local economy, provide local job and business opportuntities, and raise local incomes. Town Centers can also be planned as regional destinations that include restaurants, retail offerings, government offices, and higher density residential, beyond what is provided in smaller Village Centers. The catchment area should be about a 3 mile radius, about a 10 min drive or transit commute. #Rockledge #Walkability
Barry Watkins, 7 June 2018
Rockledge needs some walkable centers. Within the city limits we can plan walkable village and town centers within an easy 10min walk of homes to meet the daily needs of residents by spacing them about 1mi apart along the main thoroughfares thru town. Some village centers could consist of not much more than a neighborhood store and a transit stop. While in other locations the center might contain a grocery store, commercial offices, a post office, and apartments. The plan for each center should be determined by current and future demand.
To create and/or regulate walkable centers in most of our suburban neighborhoods and villages we can use the SmartCode mixed-use center zone T-5. This zone can be tailored for each neighborhood. It is designed to create a main street character with a free mix of uses on any floor and any location, mainly taller, attached buildings with very small front setbacks, and parking behind the buildings. We would typically locate centers near the geographic center of a 1 sq mi village and near a prominent intersection.
Shopping centers with large parking lots are great candidates for converting to a walkable center. The parking lot can often be divided into small blocks with small buildings all around their perimeters.
Image source: Sprawl Repair Manual by Galina Tachieva
Small strip centers and stand alone buildings can also become part of a walkable center. The SmartCode would regulate future building when buildings are replaced. The code would encourage the placement of new buildings at the front of the lot and parking behind the building. Sometimes a conversion can be done that preserves the existing building by adding liner buildings to the front of the existing building with parking moved to the side or rear. Many creative arrangements are possible to enhance walkability.
Barry Watkins, 5 June 2018
A walkable city is made up of walkable neighborhoods and villages that are complete, compact, and connected. Complete neighborhoods contain elements that help to meet residents’ daily needs like shopping, doctor’s offices, parks, schools, etc. within a 5-10 min walk of homes. Compact neighborhoods shorten walking distances. Walkable neighborhoods are also connected. They have streets that are safe and comfortable to cross and walk next to and that provide direct connections from housing to centers of activity. They will also have a transit stop. We can look at the city limits of Rockledge and divide the city into walkable villages each of about 1 square mile, about a 10 min walk from edge to center. A walkable village is made up of several walkable neighborhoods each sized about 1/2 mile square.
The SmartCode by the Center for Applied Transect Studies is a great tool for creating these kinds of walkable places. It is a freely downloadable model code designed to be adopted as a chapter of the local land development code and offers an easy to implement, step by step approach to making new and existing communities within its jurisdiction more walkable. Walkable Brevard highly recommends that the City of Rockledge adopt the SmartCode. #Rockledge #SmartCode
Barry Watkins, 3 June 2018
Why should we care about making Rockledge more walkable? Greater walkability will make Rockledge more desirable. Walkable places are welcoming, raise and maintain higher property vaues, and improve the lives of residents. They help us live healthier lifestyles, are safer, lower pollution, preserve surrounding wilderness and conserve our natural resources. A more walkable Rockledge will even create more local jobs and business opportunities, raise local wages, and local tax revenues. The list of benefits goes on and on. #Walkable #Rockledge
We are working on a Walkability plan for Rockledge. It’s gonna be AWESOME! Stay tuned right here…