Living in the rural area of Petersburg, about 20 minutes outside of State College, I decided to select the next nearest urban area: Huntingdon, PA. Huntingdon is an older urban area situated about 45 minutes south-west of State College with a population of about 7,000. The development is an automobile oriented development where the main form of transportation out of and towards the city center is vehicle based. Driving a car through Huntingdon is still difficult if you do not know the area even as the preferred method of transportation: the roads are a puzzle of one to two lane one way streets that make it difficult to drive directly to your designated location. The city is fairly clean, although sidewalks are small and poorly lit at night which makes walking unfavorable even during the day. The city boasts a large skate and green walking parks along the Juniata River which flows along the edge of the city separating the urban development from Route 22. Other than serving as the county’s seat, the city is mostly residential with a few small family retail shops and restaurants.
As we studied in both Module 4 and 7, Copenhagen is known for their pedestrian and bicycle friendly streets. Although in both Huntingdon and in Copenhagen the speed limits for vehicles are low, Copenhagen is pedestrian oriented making citizens more physically active, socially engaged, and the practice lowers the environmental impacts vehicles have on the city. The density of Huntingdon would allow at least most of the city to travel by foot or bike for daily transit. Making the commercial/retail area roads pedestrian only would increase physical activity as well as promote the local economy as the commercial establishments that take money from the area are located farther away from the city’s core. Transitioning to a more sustainable transit would initially cost a lot to transform the roads, but due to local farms and parks the cognitive transition would be fairly smooth with a little promotion.
Along with making roads more pedestrian friendly, Bogotá’s Ciclovia car-free event lets the sustainable practice of bicycling and walking to and from destinations, it also engages the community to take part and get active. The event reminds me of the holiday road close-offs for memorial day and People’s choice which both occasions really get people out walking, socializing, and shopping where they would normally be driving. Noting similar events are implemented here, creating a local weekly ciclovia in Huntingdon could be integrated with local flea and farmer’s markets to, yet again, promote the local economy. Less car emissions from traveling and transportation of goods, healthy practice by eating fresh locally grown foods and walking to engage in activities, as well as making Huntingdon a place to come and take part in the event would bring more revenue to the city.