Anumita Roychowdhury, associate director of the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi, in a wide-ranging conversation with Faizal Khan reporting for the excellent Walkability Asia ( Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities), spells out clearly the inevitability of a non-motorised transport code in India through shocking figures and revealing facts. “We need zero tolerance policy for accidents. This menu of action needs support. Our right to walk is not negotiable.” And on this Roychowdhury is entirely right. On this score we must be entirely intransigent and as part of this to keep pounding away on this important point of citizen activism on every available occasion, until we get the concept of zero tolerance written into the law and respected on the streets. All our streets! Continue reading
In 2013 we shall be giving quite a lot of attention to congestion pricing or charging by its many names and variants, all of which sharing the goal of finding ways to make drivers pay for entry and use of a scarce resource, road space in city centers . This fascinating article by Themis Chronopoulos which is introduced here takes quite an original point of view in his thorough analysis of three of the most recent and widely followed projects (or in the case of New York City, would-be project). (Note: A quick search of Google this morning called up some 4,370,000 references under the single term of congestion pricing. Something must be going on.) Continue reading
This fine common sense article by Ron Kilcoyne, an expert on pubic transportation from Eugene Oregon, appeared a few days ago in Jarrett Walker’s blog, Human Transit. The lively Walker blog is giving space to articles and reader comments on this latest technology star candidate which is being touted energetically as a cure to a very long list of things. Well, maybe. Let me get out of the way and let Ron Kilcoyne tell you what his view is on this latest bit of techno-excitement. Continue reading
This is not the first time anyone addressed these themes. In the City in History, a classic text of urban design. Mumford urged in 1963 that technology achieves a balance with nature and hoped for a rediscovery of urban principles that emphasised humanity’s organic relationship to its environment. Forty-five years on, the film clips look incredibly old and the message delivered in a rather morbid and factious manner (to quote Jane Jacobs), with a slightly ‘Outer Limits’ or ‘Twilight Zone’ ambience. Yet some of the key ideas promoted by Mumford have increasing resonance with the sustainability and green agenda of the early 21st century. In the increasingly praxis orientated and commodified world of urban design, whether anyone is listening or not is another matter.
Michael Blastland plays around with some statistics, usefully!, on roads vs. streets when it comes to accidents and safety in this article that appeared in today’s BBC magazine. (Click here for his article in full and here for the often quite stinging comments that it has triggered.) Ours here is quite another focus, but it is interesting to keep our eyes open for short pieces like this.
If your city is to go the bike route, and we can think of no good reason why it should not, you have to figure out the parking angle. Which, once you get into it, proves to be not nearly as easy as you might at first have thought. Here is a thoughtful piece on the on-street parking piece of the city bike puzzle which appears in Grist this morning under the byline of the ever-inventive Elly Blue. We propose you check it out with that second cup of coffee. Continue reading
World Streets is all about casting a broad net over transportation issues and approaches in cities around the world — reporting on the good, the bad and the ugly — so that we can learn from each other and do, hopefully, just a bit better in our own patch. Today’s communication from Dhaka reports on a familiar Third World policy conflict about a popular and very important transport mode which is unloved by some but which is providing affordable, environmental, and efficient mobility for almost a third of all trips in the nation’s capital. Seven days a week, on demand service when you need it, and with heavy use by women and children. If you have a look at what is going on there in this all-too familiar tussle of ideas and authority, we bet you will learn something for your own city from Dhaka. Continue reading
Transport planning and policy in Lahore Pakistan today, as reported by public policy consultant Hassaan Ghazali, looks like something that was dragged out of a moss-covered time capsule on a hot day: a tawdry reminder of the kind of old mobility thinking, interest-wrangling and mindless investments of hard-earned taxpayer money that challenged and in many cases helped destroy the urban fabric of cities across North America and in many other parts of the world half a century ago. Continue reading
If you look at that Sempé time-phased cartoon of the other day in World Streets, “A Short History of Social Mobility“, the lesson that leaps out at us is that what we are seeing in terms of cycling in the richer parts of the world is a phenomenon that in both economic and social terms is very specific to those places. And if by contrast we are looking for more universal lessons, especially for people in the poorest developing countries where there is a crying need for better, more affordable mobility, we may need to look elsewhere. Let’s hear what our friend Ezra Goldman has to say on this score after an enjoyable week with the cycling buffs in Seville for the annual Velo-City global bicycling bash. (Followed at the end with a few words on our a-borning Africa Streets collaborative project. ) Continue reading
In order to turn around a very big boat that is moving in the wrong direction – think global warming or any of the other wrong-way trips that we are currently locked into when it comes to transport in cities – it helps to be smart, studious and work very hard. But it is if anything even more important to have a feel for what is really going on. And this is where the fine art of pattern recognition comes in. Pattern recognition: all too often the empty chair when it comes to understanding and decision making in the field of transport policy and practice. No wonder we are doing so poorly. Continue reading
How many times does the need for being pro-people, environmentally concerned, and context specific, in forming an urban transportation strategy need iteration? Simple – till the job gets done. We need to keep reminding city-building professionals, decision makers, politicos, and most importantly, ourselves – the people – of it, until i … Read More via India Streets
One of the persistent themes of World Streets is that both the starting and the ending place for what is often called “transportation” or “infrastructure” are not about concrete, steel or rubber, nor infrastructure, vehicles or even electronics, but people — ordinary people like you and me in our day-to-day lives. Here in a short piece by the behavioral economist Robert Frank that appeared in Saturday’s New York Times is a single paragraph (toward the bottom and conveniently in red here) which provides us with one more trenchant reminder that reminds us of the importance of starting with people. And the high cost of tailing to do just that. Continue reading