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Cars dominate cities. Spend some time walking around most cites and you’ll find yourself pushed to narrow sidewalks, waiting for crosswalk lights, you’ll find cyclists navigating really narrow strips of space. American’s are used to cars the way fish are used to water. And that’s so ubiquitous in the US I think most people, it just never occurs to them it could be otherwise. But what if there were a way to change that? To give space back to pedestrians and bicyclists? And to make cities more friendly to people outside of a car. It turns out Barcelona might have a solution.
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Adding highway lanes to deal with traffic congestion is like loosening your belt to cure obesity.
Kim Dovey & Elek Pafka, The Conversation, November 2, 2016
When we talk about “urban DMA”, we’re talking about the density of a city’s buildings, the way people and activities are mixed together, and the access, or transport networks that we use to navigate through them.
For more from The Conversation on cities, click here.
It’s a good problem to have right? Bicycling is now a mainstream mode of transportation in New York City. Almost a million New Yorkers now are riding their bikes regularly. And we should be providing for cycling as we provide for motoring in New York City.
It’s an interactive transportation planning game that lets players alter the NYC subway system to their heart’s content. Players can choose to start from scratch or one of several NYC subway maps (including present-day, maps dating back to the early 1900s, or maps from the future). They can build new stations and lines to expand the system to new areas, or tear it down and redesign the whole thing.
The objectives are ambitious; by implementing these strategies at once, the city wants to reduce car use by 21% over the next two years and increase mobility by foot, bike and public transport. Superblocks will be complemented by the introduction of 300km of new cycling lanes (there are currently around 100km), as well as an orthogonal bus network that has already been put in place, whereby buses only navigate a series of main thoroughfares. This will ensure, says Salvador Rueda, director of the city’s urban ecology agency and one of the drivers of the superblocks idea, that “anyone will be less than 300 metres from a bus stop at any time – and average waiting times will be of five minutes anywhere in the city [current averages stand at 14]”. In addition, “it would be an equitable network in which one could go from any point A to point B with just one transfer in 95% of the cases. Like in a game of Battleship”.
We live in a time when billions of people are moving into cities. Many of these cities, especially the new mega cities, are very dangerous and disorganised. Many of them are getting worse, and many of them are are looking for role models of cities which have transformed themselves, and no city has done as great a job as Medellín has.
For more about the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, click here.
If you’re going to get them to walk, then you have to offer a walk that’s as good as a drive or better. What does that mean? It means you need to offer four things simultaneously: there needs to be a proper reason to walk, the walk has to be safe and feel safe, the walk has to be comfortable and the walk has to be interesting. You need to do all four of these things simultaneously, and that’s the structure of my talk today, to take you through each of those.
For more from Jeff Speck and his work as an advocate for walkable cities, click here.