Walking is culturally complicated. Some people may buy into College Heights just to put themselves in a situation where they will 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 and can be healthier. 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. A more active, less sedentary lifestyle stimulates fitness and weight control.
College Heights’s walkways and less 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. 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 be Green Seal certified.
Noise. Noise pollution within buildings will be prevented by extra sound proofing insulation between units. Without cars there will be no traffic noise, but given the closeness of the units, the HOA will have to have clear rules about noise and enforce them.
Security. More walking requires higher security. Security measures include defensible 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. There should be entry gates at the entries to the two main walkways which close at night. The Foothill Trail will be gated at night. 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. Defensible space is provided by windows overlooking the walkways and other areas, keeping “eyes on the street.”
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.