Wednesday, September 02, 2009

City Engineer Weighs In On Walkable Cities Post

Memphis City Engineer Wain Gaskins posted this comment to today's walkable cities post, and out of respect for him and his salient point about the role of zoning, we wanted to give it equal billing here:

As with many of the blog posts, engineering gets far more credit that we deserve. It is important to note that the Engineering Division does not do zoning.

We address issues created by zoning and follow zoning regulations when reviewing impacts on the public infrastructure. Engineering reviews the plans submitted by the developers.

I do not recall the Engineering Division designing cul-de-sacs in neighborhoods which is allowable by the subdivision regulations. We like connectivity of streets.

We assure that sidewalks are a part of the public improvements. We would have lobbied for a sidewalk wider than the one shown in the picture at the top of your blog to accommodate the volume of pedestrians. We can only make sure the sidewalk is there for use.

Planning and zoning determines if there is anything to walk to. Engineering is supportive of the upcoming UDC and has already started applying some if its principles prior to it being adopted. Engineering doesn’t decide if there is a mixed use of commercial, retail, residential, etc. We do look at street design/layout with safety in mind and that does include emergency vehicle access based on the requirements of the public safety divisions.

Engineering is not promoting bike routes over bike lanes as suggested in your blog. We are promoting whatever is the best fit for a particular corridor. This includes bike lanes, wide outside lanes, shared lanes, or none of the above.

We are always looking to improve while following regulations, laws and guidelines that are always evident to others.


Anonymous said...

He still doesn't get it. The sidewalks don't need to be wider. It's always about putting down more concrete.

toltecs said...

"The sidewalks don't need to be wider."

I disagree. Wider sidewalks are necessary for outdoor seating. Look at Cooper-Young. It would be great if Tsunami, Do, and The Beauty Shop had wider sidewalks so that they could have more than a few tables outside.

Anonymous said...

the better drivers of germantown don't need wider sidewalks, do they?

moot point.

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