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May 22, 2012

Law student authors brief on pedestrian and bicycle connectivity

Environmental and Natural Resources Law Fellow Jason Nelson-Elting thinks cities should be easier to navigate by bike or on foot

Jason Nelson-Elting

Jason Nelson-Elting

Jason Nelson-Elting, University of Oregon School of Law Bowerman Fellow of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program’s Sustainable Land Use (SLU) Project, recently authored the brief, “A Local Government’s Guide to Utilizing Exactions for the Improvement of Bicycle and Pedestrian Connectivity.” One of the goals of the brief is to significantly change how connectivity happens in suburbia.

The brief evaluates how to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution by decreasing the number of unnecessary vehicle trips. Nelson-Elting states that in order for this to happen, it is pertinent that cities be easier to navigate via bicycle or on foot. If change is going to be made, the government needs to be involved, according to Nelson-Elting.

Nelson-Elting’s brief offers examples of local property cases that either worked or did not work in increasing bicycle and pedestrian connectivity. Furthermore, he takes what he has learned from these examples and applies them to how the government can make changes today.

The brief was created in partnership with the UO’s Sustainable Cities Initiative, a cross-disciplinary organization that seeks to promote education, service, public outreach, and research on the design and development of sustainable cities.

SCI Co-Director Nico Larco, a professor in the architecture school, said the brief is a great example of how cross-disciplinary collaboration can have tremendous benefits and impact.

“This is a fantastic document that will be incredibly helpful to the planners I have been talking to throughout the state,” Larco said. “This brief, together with the ‘Get Connected’ handbook, has the potential to significantly change how connectivity happens in suburbia.”

By working on this project, Nelson-Elting hopes to help create positive, palpable changes in Oregon communities.

The SLU Project was launched in 2005. The main objective is to address legal issues surrounding how we choose to develop, or not to develop, lands within our communities. The project followed the passage of Oregon’s Measure 37, a property compensation initiative.

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