EARNING A PUBLIC SPACE DIVIDEND IN THE STREETS
– Paul Barter, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, University of Singapore
Abstract: Experiments with shared space or “naked streets” have captured imaginations and considerable media coverage in recent years. Most of the excitement stems from surprise that streets without kerbs, road markings or signage can work well and achieve “safety through uncertainty”. This paper looks at another equally important insight from shared space.
It focuses on a series of innovations that, like shared space, re-arrange the roles of streets in new ways to yield a “dividend” of expanded urban public realm, with little or no loss of transport utility. Such a space dividend should be especially welcome in dense cities that are both congested and short of public space.
What are streets and roadways for? An obvious answer is traffic movement. But that is clearly not the whole story. A second role is to allow the reaching of final destinations— the role we call “access”. Thirdly, streets can be valuable public places in their own right. In addition, moving high-speed motor vehicles differ enormously from movement by low-speed, vulnerable modes such as bicycles. Unfortunately, speedy motor traffic movement and the other roles of streets are in serious conflict. For almost a century, the tension between these roles has been at the heart of debate over street design (Hass-Klau 1990; Jacobs et al. 2002). This article reviews emerging resolutions to this tension.
The Battle for Street Space
The Cultures of Mobility
What message could a private citizen, an engineer no less, from a small city of a country with barely two million inhabitants send to the Secretary of Transportation of the United States of America? Happily, there is more to transport and social policy than mere size. So if you decide to continue reading, I may have a modest message for you after all.
This evening, 6 February 2009, an interesting event will take place in my city. A thematic event has been organized, dedicated to the “Culture of Mobility”. In this we want to show (again) at the culture of mobility and the culture of the city are one and the same.
Maribor, my beautiful city, the second-largest in Slovenia, is to become the cultural capital of Europe in 2012. Today’s event will start with a documentary film to open up the perspectives of transportation decision-makers in the city of New York, “Contested Streets: a Mobility Tour of Four Great World Cities”. “Contested” takes its point of departure the old habit of automatically building new infrastructure for cars every time a traffic problem arose. The world-famous and world-practiced “forecast and build” culture
Greta Thunberg is right on target when she and the School climate strikers say “save the world by changing the rules”.
An interview with Fritjof Capra, the founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy, about the emergence of systems thinking, the root causes of today’s social and environmental problems, and how to change the system itself. Fritjof Capra is a best-selling writer and leading systems thinker and author of The Systems View of Life . Here you will find some extracts of Marjorie Kelly’s interviews Capra of about the emergence of systems thinking and what lessons it has to offer in a world of convergent crises. Full article at https://greattransition.org/publication/systems-thinking-and-system-change
MK: Your new book, The Systems View of Life, provides an overview of systems thinking for those in a broad range of professions, from economics and politics to medicine, psychology, and law. Why do you see systems thinking as valuable in so many different settings?
FC: Systems thinking is relevant to all professions and academic disciplines that deal with life in one way or another—with living organisms, social systems, or ecosystems. Systems thinking is inherently multidisciplinary and I hope our textbook will help to create a common language for students of all disciplines.
Insights into the work that led to Mexico City’s parking reforms.
* * Source: https://www.itdp.org/mexico-city-became-leader-parking-reform/
“This major policy change is a result of ITDP Mexico’s advocacy over the last 10 years…. So in 2014, with the support of the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (SEDUVI), the research study “Less parking, more city” (“Menos cajones, más ciudad”) was born providing enough evidence to show the need of a change of paradigm. This study evolved into a proposal to modify the Construction Code that ITDP delivered to Mexico City’s Government in 2015. …
“A change of policy of this importance is not the work of a single individual or institution. ITDP Mexico supported the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, and the Ministry of Mobility in the process of technical discussion with the different important guilds that are essential in the on-the-ground implications of this, such as the Real Estate Association (ADI). At the same time, agreements were made with the National Association of Supermarkets, Convenience and Departments Stores and also with the National Chamber of the Industry of Development and Promotion of Housing with the best of intentions to reach win-win agreements. The Legislative Assembly also recognized the need to reform the policy, and the role of civil society was incredibly important. Bicitekas, WRI, editorial house Arquine and, of course, IMCO, were all key to creating this more powerful, cross-cutting and lasting public policy.”
– Paul Barter, Adjunct Associate Professor, LKY School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
– Paul Barter, Adjunct Professor, School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
* Latest online version at https://goo.gl/SWvxvE.)
* Exracts: Article by http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38252405
The town of Summit, New Jersey, is about 30 miles west of Manhattan. It has a population of around 20,000. While I’ve never been there myself, I can tell you one thing: finding a parking spot at the train station can be a complete nightmare.
So Mayor Nora Radest was planning to do the obvious and build more spaces to accommodate the growing demand. It would have cost around $10m (£7.9m).That’s an awful lot of money, and so instead she took on an interesting experiment. Everyone who has a parking permit at the station is now entitled to a free Uber ride to and from their homes.
Think of this as an Executive Summary in a single page to identify and clarify policy for a core element of a very complex urban system of many parts and linkages. In fact, the very one we are attempting to deal with here: the impacts of the many too many cars syndrome. But what is we treat this as a step in a useful direction.
This excellent independent analysis was prepared for the Sustainable Transport Environment in Penang (STEP) program by Mr. Ganesh Rasagam, Acting Chief Executive Officer, DCT Consultancy Sdn. Bhd. in Penang back in 1998, almost 20 years ago. Here you find selected extracts which we find to be particularly timely, the full text being available from http://goo.gl/dgYEv2 . We leave it to the reader to be encouraged or discouraged if we compare this with the level of knowledge, planning and proposed project efforts which are receiving attention in Penang today. An excellent wake up call that apparently got lot in the bureaucratic and electoral shuffle. Great pity for the people of Penang, but there is still time to consult these points and recommendations which are as relevant today in 2016 as they were in the late nineties..
Paris has a sustainable transportation strategy. It is working pretty well and they continue to make steady progress on it, though with miles to go before they sleep. What makes Paris particularly interesting and instructive as a real world example is that for many years it did not, and by the early 70s there were first big infrastructure initiatives knocking at the door that would have certainly turned it from being a city for people into a city for cars. And that particular destiny, by the way, was not just a random series of events. It was premeditated, largely shared in policy circles and destined to happen. At the time, in 1974, the Prefect for Paris (Paris did not at that point have its own mayor and hence a focal point and guardian of that special qualities) famously said (in my approximate but not inaccurate memory) “Parisians are born with two legs and four wheels”. Oops!
By Friso Metz, CROW-KpVV, the Netherlands
Recently a medium sized Dutch city asked my counsel about carsharing. The city wants to promote carsharing and is looking for ideas. While discussing with the city officials and their marketeers, we discovered a particular issue in carsharing. I explained that an average parking bay for carsharing in the Netherlands only shows a sign explaining that it’s intended uniquely for carsharing. The road surface shows a white cross which tells you that it is prohibited to park there (unless you are driving the shared vehicle).
Fortunately Penang does not have to start from the beginning and all by itself reinvent its presently troubled transportation arrangements to create a beautiful and sustainable city. There are many cities in different parts of the world who have in the past addressed these same challenges, patiently, consistently and with continuity and excellent results. So in many ways there is nothing new; it all depends on how you put it together. And it is these cities and these projects that provide examples for Penang. All of these examples taken together constitute what we call the New Mobility Agenda. Let us have a look as been learned over the last three decades in these “cities that are rethinking themselves”.
You are invited to inspect the Sustainable Penang: New Mobility project at http://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com.
Carsharing changes our relationship with the cars we owned and loved and hated over much of the century just behind us. And one of the points we hear from proponents again and again is that carsharing offers substantial savings, because the cost of owning a car has become much higher than in the past. Surely the cost of car ownership in the 21st century — and all that goes with it including direct and indirect costs, among them depreciation, insurance, petrol, maintenance, parking, etc., — is no light burden. But how expensive is it really? In this article, carsharing expert Dave Brook digs into the numbers and reflects on the true cost of ownership for most car owners in the United States.
This article by Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute has just appeared in the December 2013 issue of the United Nation’s “Transport and Communications Bulletin for Asia and the Pacific.” It reinforces many of the strategies and principles set out in the New Mobility Agenda 2014/15 program, and provides useful reading for anybody concerned with transportation, mobility and public space improvements in Penang and George Town. A summary introduction to the full paper follows extracting a final section on Optimal Congestion Solutions and the Conclusions. The full paper is recommended and freely available at http://www.unescap.org/ttdw/Publications/TPTS_pubs/bulletin82/b82_Chapter1.pdf.
Parking policy and practice in a city is a marker, a litmus test of its collective commitment to an efficient and beautiful city. More than that, the policy has to be carefully thought out, agilely negotiated and executed with long-term commitment. Stop-and-start policies in such important areas are the mark of political immaturity. So if your city does NOT have such a policy, and is NOT applying it with continuity and consistency, then sorry to say you are far from the front rank of sustainable cities.
It’s a choice, a political choice, not only of those public servants and elected officials who are during their term responsible for transport, public space and life quality matters in the city, but above all, and ultimately far more important, the citizenry. The active citizenry. So with that behind us, let’s see what the fresh eyes of a visiting American academic and transportation engineer spotted and have to say about parking policy and performance in the beautiful city of Zürich. Continue reading
Misguided parking policy is harmful and unjust.
No surprise there, you may say. There is no shortage of complaints about parking prices (“unfair!”) and about how difficult it is to find parking. We hear the same thing all over the world, whether in Sydney, San Francisco, Singapore, Moscow, Delhi , Jakarta, Beijing, Sao Paolo, Lagos or Nairobi.
Sorry to be unsympathetic. But complaints like those are a problem. They are fuel for the never-ending push for more parking and cheaper parking.
So what? Continue reading
Continuing our coverage of the open “No parking, No business” conversation, more on walkability impacts/local economic development impacts, this time from Todd Litman: selected references from the “Walkability” chapter of the Online TDM Encyclopedia of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute. Continue reading