Walking is culturally complicated. Some people may buy into College Heights just to put themselves in a situation where they will be compelled to walk more. College Heights is designed with features to encourage walking. Yet the design cannot go too far or potential residents will turn away. Distance to a car in the parking podium or the bus stop at the Village Center must be kept within acceptable travel-time budgets. In addition to wide walkways between residential clusters, College Heights will have hiking and recreation trails all along the periphery of the development, to make exercise easy and safe. Residents will walk and exercise more, suggesting a healthier lifestyle. Stairways encourage walking inside residences. Units in College Heights front on walkways, with a pedestrian friendly design. Residents walk to reach the Village Center and the parking areas. College Heights will have a fitness center, trails, parks, and nearby are sports fields, swimming pool, and tennis courts. Studies indicate a more active, less sedentary lifestyle stimulates fitness and weight control.
College Heights’s walkways and reduced use of cars in general will reduce risks from auto accidents.
The lack of cars helps both safety and security. Safety is significantly improved by reducing exposure to the dangers of traffic as a driver or as a pedestrian. The walking “street” is inherently safer.
Building materials. As discussed under Sustainability, buildings will be designed for health. Wall paneling will avoid plywood and particle board that use formaldehyde-based glues and resins. Floor coverings will be from sustainable sources, such as natural fibers like wool, cotton, or hemp, with minimal stain repellants, and installed with tacks instead of adhesives. Paints, adhesives, and sealants will be low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and Green Seal certified.
Noise. Noise pollution within buildings will be prevented by extra sound proofing insulation between units. Walkways without cars will mean no traffic noise, but given the closeness of the units, the HOA will have to have clear rules about noise, such as quiet between certain designated hours (such as 11pm – 6am) and enforce them.
Security. More walking requires higher security. Security measures include defendable space design (fencing, good sight lines, windows on the walkways, lighting, no hiding places). A manager will be on duty at all times, be available by cell phone, and patrol the site on an unpredictable schedule. The main walkways and project entrances will have security video surveillance (CCTV) monitored from the Village Center. The gates at the entries to the two main walkways will close at designated times. The Foothill Trail will be gated at night, limiting access. Special measures will be taken quickly if a security problem arises. Security is improved because cars are used in the great majority of crimes against strangers. No cars makes “casing” a target and getting away more difficult.
College Heights fosters social patterns that create security. Defendable space is provided by windows overlooking the walkways and other areas, keeping “eyes on the street.” A quick search on the internet defines defendable space as: a physical environment in which the neighborhood’s social organization deters crime (www.gingersoftware.com).
Courtyards are small enough to support neighbors knowing who belongs and who doesn’t. Also, sightlines, lighting and landscaping are designed for security. The courtyards and the play areas are safe places for children to play in view of their parent’s home. Community ties–neighbors looking out for one another–makes for a safe neighborhood.
Public Safety Access
Police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances have free access to the walkways, which are designed for emergency access.