- From the editor
I have been invited to give a keynote address to the Urban Futures Conference that is to take place in Graz Austria this year from 18/19 November. As you can well imagine it is something of a big deal with power speakers pouring in from industry, academy, the consulting world and all the other solid sources on information and wisdom in our field.
Upon reading the World Streets article of 25 Oct. on ‘The Psychopathology of the Everyday Driver’, Dr. Mah Hui, a city councilman in George Town Malaysia, commented:
It is very interesting and promising proposition which i can agree with substantially. But suddenly you break off when you just made the point that its more effective to design the roads to slow down vehicles. Do you have section 2 to suggest what types of designs have been used and might work?
In Penang, our council is using speed tables to slow down cars with limited success partly because it’s not well designed as I see the motorists and especially motor cyclist speeding up and crossing the speed tables at over 30 kph ! Even with better designs how do we reduce their speed over stretches without the tables?
Regards/ Mah Hui
Oops. You are so right Ma Hui. I admit I was being a bit lazy in that first blast, but as luck would have it I have given this quite a bit of attention over the years and have had a chance to observe both better (less) and worse (more) treatments in cities around the world. And while I am by no means a traffic engineer, what I can offer this morning is a quick shortlist as it comes off the top of my head and memory, and with more than a little help from US Institute of Transportation Engineers Traffic Calming Library (www.ite.org/traffic/), along with an article just in from Partners for Public Spaces by Jay Walljasper entitled “How to Restore Walking as a Way of Life”.
And now, in to the answer to your query, starting with a first lot of ideas for Slow Street Architecture:
Sometimes life is simple:
Question: How fast will car drivers speed on any given stretch of road or street?
Answer: As fast as they can.
Qualification: And if that is not true for every driver on the road, it is true for enough of them that if road safety is the goal, then this brutal, uncompromising reality must be taken into serious consideration.
Question 2: Now what if anything can we do about it?
When one considers how things have gone in the last decades or thereabouts, it is not easy to believe in the survival of civilization.
I do not argue from this that the only thing to do is to adjure practical politics, retire to some remote place and concentrate either on individual salvation or on building up self-supporting communities against the day when the atom bombs have done their work. I think one must continue the political struggle, just as a doctor must try to save the life of a patient who is probably going to die.
But I do suggest that we shall get nowhere unless we start by recognizing that political behaviour is largely non-rational, that the world is suffering from some kind of mental disease which must be diagnosed before it can be cured.
This is an interim report with suggested guidelines and background for organizing city cycling self-audits and events in support of cycling as a principle theme of World Car Free Days events in 2014.
As original organizers of the World Car Free Days movement, we are always attentive to finding ways to make real use out of these generally festive occasions. We have been working consistently on this task since the first program announcement in Toledo Spain at a major European conference in October 1994 under the title of “Thursday: A breakthrough strategy for reducing car dependence in cities“.
This year we are proposing that considering cities may give some thought to the possibility of organizing a core Car Free Day event specifically to encourage cycling in cities, and in particular at the core of the CFD events and preparations to encourage cities to conduct and share a “self-audit” in order to provide background and perspective on the state of safe and abundant cycling in their city.
The latest cut of this posting is available at https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/revised-guidelines-for-2014-cfd-state-of-city-cycling-self-audit/
(First draft for review and comment)
In the following we take as our point of departure the 13 categories and their 0-4 scoring system of the well-known Copenhagenize Index for Bicycle Friendly Cities, which they have developed over the last half decade for the purpose of their very successful triennial survey and benchmarking exercise looking at more than 100 cities on all continents. World Streets recently published a summary article on this which you can find at http://wp.me/psKUY-3Gn.
Bearing in mind that the approach proposed here as a benchmarking activity in support of Car Free Day events has another set of objectives. For starters it is intended to create a base for (a) an independent self-audit to be finalized and then lead by concerned civil society groups (NGOs, user and environmental groups, etc.) in each city. And beyond this (b) the eventual possibility for sharing results with other cities and groups interested in and/or cooperating directly with the 2014 collaborative project.
Another characteristic of this approach is that the materials you find here are simple suggestions, and it is anticipated that while some cities and groups will work with this more or less as it stands, in many cases we will be seeing different choices of categories, scoring and weighting systems. Each team will decide what works best for them. And what works best for them is what works best for all of us.
The following is intended to provide for our readers a useful overview of the cycling component of the EC’s European Mobility Week, with a view to being useful both for cycle planning and programs and eventually as background for the planned city cycle audit activity presently being discussed as a possible component of a certain number off cooperating cities’ 2014 Car Free Days. This information has been extracted from their European Mobility Week Handbook which is available at http://goo.gl/ahWEyO