Pedestrianizing Streets as a Strategy for Urban Greenways



Publication Date

August 2022


As adequate space to implement new greenways in dense urban centers is difficult to come by, it is vital that planners begin to increasingly tap into the vehicular landscape as a means of creating new space for the public benefit. Pedestrianization of streets helps to reclaim the significant amount of underutilized road space in cities and adjust it to better fit the human scale. In doing so, these pedestrianization efforts unlock copious amounts of space which can become home to new greenways.(Lee 2015). Not only do pedestrian zones offer an opportunity for greenway implementation, the aims of these areas are serendipitous and thus result in co-benefits when planned together. In planning pedestrian zones, greenways have been utilized towards improving the livability of the area through the provision of shade, noise reduction, air filtration, and their associated mental health benefits.(Maritz 2019). Further, the space freed up by removing automobile traffic from a street is often too wide to be comfortable for pedestrians, therefore greenways are being used to create narrower pedestrian areas with a green edge or median.(Dostal 2021).For greenways, pedestrian zones can help improve accessibility and thus the use of these areas while also creating calmer car-free environments for people and local wildlife alike. Additionally, such integrated developments have similarly been envisioned alongside urban waterways which are often dominated by vehicular traffic, experience higher volumes of foot traffic, and hold great potential for greenways as a means to manage flooding while keeping the land usable for recreational purposes.(Horte 2020). Through a systematic review and analysis of separate pedestrian zone and greenway literature, the commonalities and co-benefits of planning these interventions in an integrated manner are derived to form a clear breakdown of best practices. In doing so, the recommendations formed argue why pedestrianizing streets should be pursued as a genuine strategy and opportunity to create new greenways in higher density urban areas.