DEMOCRACY CAME LATE TO OUR STREETS (Or, Drivers as Victims)

* Wanted: Curators and contributors for World Streets “Drivers As Victims” Department. Contact eric.britton@ecoplan.org

Drivers as Victims

After a century of fearless and uncontested domination, peace and pandering, car/owner drivers around the planet suddenly find themselves in the midst of a raging process of transition to a very different world of privilege and limitation, laws and enforcement, economics and free rides. And unsurprisingly in their own yes they see themselves as victims: having their territory limited step by step to ever-growing parts of the cityscape where they have long been uncontested kings and queens.

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“WE ARE THE INVENTORS OF A NEW WORLD, MY SIR”

FB SC - Groningen streetThe idea of slowing top speeds on traffic in the city to reduce accidents and achieve other important systemic benefits would seem like a pretty sensible, straightforward and affordable thing to do. For a lot of reasons.  Let’s have a look.

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SLOW CITY: START HERE

FOR THE RECORD AND IN BRIEF:

A Slow City is an urban development vision and quantifiable target, the first step of which is  (a) to reduce traffic accidents and their human and economic costs to zero  in the city, by (b) strategically slowing down traffic, over all the parts and the system as a whole. This gives the city a measurable target output (accident data and on-street and in-vehicle ITS feedback) for evaluation and management purposes,  and an innovative platform to link and serve other sustainable projects and programs which are consistent to the theme: reforms and improvements that are Better | Cheaper | Quicker.

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52 Better, Faster, Cheaper measures that your city could start to do tomorrow morning to reduce traffic accidents, save lives, strengthen the economy and improve quality of life for all.

We often hear that transportation reform  is going to require massive public investments, large construction projects, elaborate technology deployments, and above all and by their very nature are going to take a long time before yielding significant results. This is quite simply not true. This approach, common in the last century and often associated with the “American transportation model”, no longer has its place in a competitive, efficient, democratic city  And we can start tomorrow, if we chose to.

couple crossing street in Penang trafficTo get a feel for this transformative learning reality let’s start with a quick look at a first lot of ideas for Slow Street Architecture as a major means for reducing traffic related nuisances, accident prevention and improving quality of life for all.  These approaches are not just “nice ideas”.  They have proven their merit and effectiveness in hundreds of cities around the world. There is no good reason that they cannot do the same in your city. Starting tomorrow morning.

(For further background on external sources feeding this listing, see Sources and Clues section below.)

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SLOW CITY: START HERE

FOR THE RECORD AND IN BRIEF:

A Slow City is an urban development vision and quantifiable target, the first step of which is  (a) to reduce traffic accidents and their human and economic costs to zero  in the city, by (b) strategically slowing down traffic, over all the parts and the system as a whole. This gives the city a measurable target output (accident data and on-street and in-vehicle ITS feedback) for evaluation and management purposes,  and an innovative platform to link and serve other sustainable projects and programs which are consistent to the theme: reforms and improvements that are Better | Cheaper | Quicker.

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________________ SLOW CITY READER ________________ From the Archives of World Streets: 2009-2017

FB SC bookstore plus eb back head

Useful background references from the archives of World Streets to lend a hand to planners, policy makers, researchers, NGOs, students, media and others concerned with the challenges of sustainable cities in general, and in particular those of calming traffic speeds in combination with other complementary measures to change, to improve  and to soften the face of  your city.

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