Connecting People and Places: Creating a More Active Kingston
Gil Penalosa, an urban strategist, led more than 140 leaders and residents in discussions on how to make Kingston more pedestrian friendly, cycle friendly, and a great place. Mr. Penalosa has years of public and private sector senior managerial experience. He is celebrated around the world for his ability to create walkable, bike-able cities with healthier, happier residents.
The 8 to 80 Rule
When roads are built, planners do not build one road for new drivers and a separate road for experienced drivers. When creating sidewalks and bike-ways we cannot make them only accessible to experienced cyclists and agile pedestrians. Here’s a rule of thumb to help individuals when they are evaluating bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure; we have dubbed it the 8/80 rule.
Step 1: Think of a child that you love and care for who is approximately 8 years of age. This could be a child, grandchild, sister, brother, cousin, etc.
Step 2: Think of an older adult, approximately 80 years of age who you love and care for. This could be a parent, grandparent, friend, etc.
Step 3: Ask yourself: Would you send that 8 year old along with the 80 year old on a walk, or a bike ride on that infrastructure? If you would, then it is safe enough; if you would not, then it is not safe enough.
This rule may seem simple but it holds many implications. Interestingly, when you are forced to think of the ability of most cycling and pedestrian infrastructure to safely serve all citizens, they often fail.