Pedestrian planning workshops come to North Tahoe |

Pedestrian planning workshops come to North Tahoe

What do Burlington, Vt., Boulder, Colo., Palo Alto, Calif. and even historic downtown Truckee have in common? They are livable and walkable communities that provide a sense of place for residents and tourists alike.

The North Tahoe Business Association’s Mainstreet Design Team hopes to bring these same elements to the North Tahoe region, beginning with a workshop educating and discussing elements of livable and walkable communities.

Paul Zykofsky from the Local Government Commission in Sacramento will speak tonight on “Making Your Neighborhood Work and the Citizen Planner” in the first of the three-part series.

“We feel that in order for citizens to be planners in their community, they need a baseline,” said Andrew Ryan, a design committee member and part-owner of Pastore Ryan.

Prior to World War II, communities often were planned for pedestrians, in tight, clustered centers that offered housing and jobs within walking distances. But the advent of the personal automobile, as well as cheap fuel prices during much of the country’s last 50 years of growth, have born auto-dependent communities of commutes and sprawling, monotonous development, say organizations such as the Sierra Club.

Progressive planners are attempting to return communities to compact, pedestrian-friendly centers that offer residents and visitors an attractive vibrancy.

A more informed community can take a lead on wanting and achieving a livable and walkable community, said Tony Pastore, part-owner of Pastore Ryan. No decisions will be made during the workshop, which are meant to educate. The goal is to empower local citizens of North Tahoe and Truckee to advocate healthy economies, healthy citizens and great main streets .

“We want to create places we want to live and that people want to visit,” said Dave Polivy, a design committee member and natural resources program manager with Sierra Business Council.

Livable and walkable communities are important, said Polivy, because vibrancy, activity and quality of life make people feel connected and take pride in the place they live. When people feel part of their community, it can flourish in many ways, he said.

Two ways to enhance communities are to create an identity, and guard pedestrian safety, said Polivy.

This could mean slower traffic speeds, more resources for bikers and pedestrians, less air pollution, cleaner water, better commerce, increased property value, enhanced safety and overall greater community pride for a place like Kings Beach, said Ryan.

The design committee hopes to see a lot of discussion about the concepts of livable and walkable communities.

“All ideas are welcome,” said Ryan.

The Speaker

The facilitator for the three-part series is Paul Zykofsky from the Local Government Commission in Sacramento, a non-profit organization in effort to create healthy, walkable and resource-efficient communities. Zykofsky received his Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture and his Master’s Degree in Urban Planning. He serves as the Director of Land Use and Transportation Programs and manages the Center for Livable Communities. He has extensive experience in land-use, air quality and transportation planning in his work with city development agencies and various government councils. He is currently working with the California Department of Health Services in the promotion of physical activity by way of improving pedestrian environments.

Check it out

The first of the series of Livable Walkable Communities workshops will be held tonight from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the North Tahoe Community Conference Center in Kings Beach. The following workshops will be Oct. 3 and Oct. 27.

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