Talking Headways Podcast: A Shared Space Revolution

On the podcast this week is Robert Ping, executive director of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, who tells us about Pittsburgh’s plans for the largest shared space in an American city.

Robert also discusses why it’s so important to get public officials from different agencies in the same room together to talk about improving conditions for walking and biking. And we wonder why parents are being threatened with arrest just for walking their kids to school, and how getting driven around affects kids’ perceptions of where they live compared to walking.

  • good will


  • Michel S

    Golden comment of the episode: (29:21) “If you treat drivers like idiots, they will act like idiots. Everybody will: pedestrians, bicyclists. If you treat them like idiots and give them all these rules, they’ll turn their brains off and just respond to rules and not think and work together and folks will feel a sense of entitlement.”

    This is such a key observation. A lot of aggression between road users has to do with people perceiving that others are using the roads improperly. This applies to pedestrians as well as to people on bikes and people in cars. It’s one of the reasons why the move to further automate private cars makes me nervous. Humans are adaptive creatures; they are by nature creative problem-solvers. If you completely remove human activity from the equation, does the world really become a better place. If so, what does that say about our place in the world we’ve created?


Back-to-School Season Brings Bike-to-School Bans

As schools across the country open their doors for another year, Robert Ping of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership says students are increasingly facing "bans" against walking and biking to campus. Network member reports: In Portland, fears of liability turned Safe Routes to School to "Safer Routes." Photo: "It’s pervasive throughout […]

Talking Headways Podcast: The Future of Street Lights

Clifton Lemon and Steve Lawton of LightPlace Advisors join me this week to talk about how lighting is going to change in cities with the advent of the LED. We learn about what fire and light means to humans and why the street light might become one of the most valuable assets a city has. Clifton […]

Talking Headways Podcast: Your Brain on Two Legs

Antonia Malchik’s recent piece in Aeon Magazine, The End of Walking, went viral in urbanist circles, touching on several themes related to our “right to walk.” In her turn on Talking Headways, Antonia talks about how she became addicted to walking and her experiences walking in Russia, Austria, Upstate New York, and the American West. We also discuss how our […]

Liberating the Schoolyard

For a time, a few years back, my friends and I used to play pick-up soccer every Sunday at a high school in my neighborhood. As many as 30 people, mostly adults in their twenties and thirties, would show up for a match on a particularly nice day. New moms would bring their babies to […]

Why a Street Designed for Transit Is Also Great for People

When cities devote street space exclusively to buses or trains, they usually encounter some stiff resistance to change. Dan Reed at Greater Greater Washington has been giving the topic some thought, because many of the DC region’s upcoming transit projects will require reallocating some lanes from cars to transit. Reed cites Minneapolis’s Green Line, which runs through the […]