With the era of personal mobility upon us, E-scooters and bike-sharing have become accessible alternatives to driving— but are mid-size communities prepared to meet this new demand for active transportation infrastructure?

Beth Poovey, PLA (BP), Director of Greenways, Parks and Open Space at landscape architecture, civil engineering and planning firm, LandDesign, is challenging the way cities weave pedestrian-friendly infrastructure into their communities. Her mission? To create places where every mode of transportation is respected.

A landscape architect and planner of active transportation systems, Poovey sees the future of open spaces as a balance of connectivity and offers valuable insight on how parks, greenways and trails will look in the future as active transportation evolves, including:

  • The role of active transportation and the sharing economy
  • The use intensity and character of greenways and trails in the future, as these changes also impact community design needs and citizen health
  • How sharing concepts such as bike shares and shared scooters can affect a community’s recreation planning
  • Recent changes to the designs of greenways and shared-use paths
  • The relationship between active transportation and large-scale community transportation and how this affects today’s parks and recreation facilities

“Whereas in the Netherlands, where they’ve been investing in biking infrastructure for much longer and integrating biking into the culture as a lifestyle, mid-size American cities lack the necessary funding to take their bike infrastructure to the next level. Until bike infrastructure becomes a priority, we, as designers and planners, need to determine what the solution is in the meantime,” says Poovey.

While E-scooters offer one of those solutions, the impact of this trend to people’s health, and whether scooters provide the same benefits to communities as biking, is questionable and only one path towards re-imagining healthier and safer communities.

Poovey’s team of landscape architects and civil engineers are drawing inspiration from the Netherlands as they work on the Cross Charlotte Trail, a 30+-mile trail and greenway facility that will allow residents to travel seamlessly from one end of Charlotte to the other; and Littler Sugar Creek Greenway, which has transformed a part of midtown Charlotte. When complete, the Little Sugar Creek Greenway will feature over 19 miles of walkable and bike-able trails and land connections linking a local college, medical center, and shopping area, among many other destinations.

“The micro-mobility trend will impact how cities plan for accessibility and will change open space and comprehensive planning in general. Today, we are aiming to have accessible open space every quarter of a mile, so everyone can feasibly walk to a park. But with the accessibility active transportation options are creating, that could change the way we plan for parks and open space,” says Poovey.

The evolving roles of pedestrian, bicycle, scooter and other user movement modes are affecting communities and changing the way users experience parks, trails and other recreation facilities. For more information or to speak with LandDesign’s Beth Poovey, contact C.C. Sullivan.