"If we have streets in a New Urbanist neighborhood where it's possible for drivers to go 50, 60 or 70 mph, then we've done something wrong," Marshall said. "The problem is not a lack of police enforcement; it's a lack of self-enforcing streets."
The study also found that Stapleton and Lowry, a similar development nearby, lagged behind older Denver neighborhoods in terms of walking, biking and public transit use. That may change in 2016, Marshall said, when a commuter line from the central business district to Stapleton is completed, but that is not quite enough.
Marshall said Stapleton, with over 14,000 residents, does many things right. There is a lot of connectivity for pedestrians and bikes, there are great sidewalks, the schools and restaurants are close, and the area looks inviting.
But he said the downsides are also real.
"Stapleton serves as a reminder that the transportation design ideals of New Urbanism can too easily be compromised by a conventional traffic engineering mindset," Marshall said. "The results are higher-than-desired vehicle speeds on every kind of street; higher driving mode shares, and less walking, biking and transit use than peer neighborhoods in the region."
The solution requires a return to the original ideals of Stapleton with narrow, connected streets, less off-street parking, and less dependency on automobiles, he said.
"If we don't better deal with this disconnect between New Urbanist ideals and conventional engineering solutions, then Stapleton will end up just like any other auto-oriented development," Marshall said.
|Contact: David Kelly|
University of Colorado Denver