Walkability of Three Downtown Vancouver Streets: Evaluating the Physical and Perceptual Qualities of the Built Environment

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Nakazawa, Andrew
Walkability , Streets , Pedestrians , Downtown Vancouver , Audit tools
Streets are an important part of every urban environment. They facilitate mobility and have a strong influence on the shape of a city`s urban form. Streets aid in the movement of automobiles, transit, sewage, utilities, and water. They also facilitate pedestrian movement; however, the importance of planning for pedestrians is often undervalued and overshadowed by the needs of motorized modes of transportation. In order to accommodate rising automobile ownership and mitigate greater levels of congestion, improvements to mobility and changes to street design are often made at the expense of the pedestrian. In order to re-balance the functionality of street networks, individual streets need to be planned and designed with all users in mind. Walkability is described as a measure of how friendly an area is to pedestrians and typically accounts for the overall quality of walking conditions, including safety, comfort, and convenience. The objective of this report is to assess the physical and perceptual qualities of the built environment of three downtown Vancouver streets (Granville St, Robson St, Davie St). Through a walkability audit, this report examines how the presence of pedestrian features and streetscape elements affect the quality of a pedestrian environment. Recommendations will be made on how each street could be made more walkable and pedestrian-friendly through design.
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