The New York Times on Monday carried a piece by Robert Sullivan arguing that New York City is falling behind other North American cities (and certainly other major global cities) when it comes to being accessible on foot and by public transport. It rings true, though I don’t know New York well enough to really engage.
Of particular interest is the paragraph that begins:
Then there is Grand Rapids, Mich., which has a walkable downtown with purposely limited parking and is home to a new bus plaza that is part of a mass transit renaissance in Michigan. The state is investing in high-speed trains, and it is even talking about a mass transit system for the nation’s auto-capital, Detroit, where a new pedestrian plaza anchors downtown.
Living here, I can’t say I’d take Grand Rapids as an inspiration for downtown redevelopment. There are a lot of good things happening around the fringes but the city is still far from pedestrian and cyclist friendly, and with a few notable exceptions there’s not yet all that much downtown worth walking to. But still, it’s nice to see Grand Rapids getting a little attention.