Planning Principle #4: On Foot

Planning Principle #4: On Foot

By: Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA, LEED AP   |   @bialosky_arch

One of the goals of great community design is to put the car in its place and to get people on their feet as soon as possible. This means that we have to design the pedestrian experience from door to door. In doing so, we can maintain the importance of interaction on public sidewalks and allow for chance encounters. The antithesis of this idea is the creation of hermetically sealed passageways and gerbil-tube links which might protect us from the weather but severely limits community interaction. It’s OK to be out in the weather!

Diagram Credit: Bialosky Cleveland

4. On Foot: The experience of a place should be defined equally by the entry and approach as well as the arrival. If primary access to a space is by automobile, the experience starts with the first step upon opening the car door. The sequence from parking, or other modes of transportation, to final destination should be convenient to and from as many pathways as possible, choreographed to maximize the pedestrian experience.

Park FountainWhen visiting 3 or 4 destinations in a neighborhood, one should not have to return to the car, but rather should be able to access these way points along a varied and interesting path. This relates to our previous principles 2 and 3 of short blocks and no backs to create a scale of activity which is varied in pattern, safe and secure, and continually engaging. The elements that make a pathway, safe, interesting and engaging, start with the architecture itself and activated facades, and go beyond this to consider the texture of paving underfoot, landscaping flora, provision of shade either through landscaping or built form, lighting at night, points of rest, and points of interest including the occasional quirky surprise, as well as pedestrian scaled wayfinding and signage for orientation.


We asked Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA, LEED AP, Senior Principal of Bialosky Cleveland to discuss the Seven Planning Principles his firm uses for community design. This is a closer look at Principle #4: On Foot.

Want to dig deeper? Join us on Wednesday, July 20 at 2 p.m. EST for a free webinar featuring Jack and his colleague David W. Craun, AIA, LEED AP. Principal and Director of Design at Bialosky Cleveland.


About the Firm: 

Bialosky ClevelandBialosky Cleveland is one of the region’s most successful architectural design firms, as evidenced by awards that honor the firm’s practice management, design excellence and commitment to community. The multi-disciplinary firm has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects as an AIA Ohio Gold Medal Firm, the highest honor awarded by its peers, in recognition of great depth and breadth, a collaborative environment, and having a cumulative effect on the profession over a substantial period of time.

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