Cobble stone footpath: gorgeous
In this day and age of ever-rising cost of petrol, walking and cycling - especially cycling, makes perfect sense. Not only is it kind to one's pocket, these two mode of travelling is a boon for good health.
In temperate countries, town planners have it easier to encourage people to walk and cycle. Pedestrians and cyclists do not have to grapple with the problem of hot, humid weather. So they cycle and walk at every opportunity.
In this sense, the Malaysian weather is so un-forgiving that Malaysian planners have a real tough challenge on their hand.
But let's not take the easy way out and just blame the weather, shall we?
The mean weather aside, we have a lot to catch up with our western counterparts even in the area of basic design and planning for pedestrians and cyclists.
One of the most basic principles for success is surely to connect two points of destination by the shortest possible route. Now, this entails looking at requirements of pedestrian footpath and cycle lanes at the very initial layout planning stage for a residential, commercial or recreational area. Most provisions we see now, especially in old parts of cities, are merely afterthoughts.
Good planning would then have to be complemented by supportive urban design and landscaping programs that would provide the necessary shading and street furniture. All these are essential to make walking and cycling more bearable and pleasant.
In more developed countries, sidewalks and cycle path development have become an art and science in itself. Pavements are beautifully designed and decorated to make the environment interesting and conducive. Detail to designs cater for all sections of the society, including the physically-challenged.