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Author: Walking Key to Future of Cities

Urban planner and author Jeff Speck is in Rochester to promote the importance of walking to a city's health and vitality.
Urban planner and author Jeff Speck is in Rochester to promote the importance of walking to a city's health and vitality. 

Speck wrote "Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time." The book discusses how designing a city for walking will pay off by being more desirable to residents and businesses. Speck predicts a big demand for walkable neighborhoods, as young people and empty nesters want a lifestyle that is less car-centric.

In Rochester, examples of walkable neighborhoods are Park Avenue and the East End. Speck says a walk must be useful, safe, interesting and comfortable.

Speck also writes about putting the car in its proper place. He's a fan of "road diets," slowing traffic down and adding bike lanes. He approves of Rochester's plan to turn St. Paul and Clinton into two-way streets downtown, saying it will help businesses.

Speck talked to Rachel Barnhart on News 8 First at 4. She showed him pictures of what Rochester's Main Street looked like in 1910. It was filled with people! Speck says the key for cities is to fill streets up with people once again. Watch Rachel's interview by clicking the video above.

You can attend a free workshop with Speck Wednesday morning from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Kate Gleason Auditorium at the Central Library. Enter through the Broad St. entrance.
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