Getting away with M U R D E R

In memoriam 2013.

Streetsblog: Doing its job year after year in New York City.

Each year our friends over at STREETSblog in New York City publish a heart-rending testimonial to the mayhem that automobiles have wrought over the year on their city’s streets and the cost in terms of lives lost by innocent pedestrians usa ghost bike photoand cyclists. Putting names, faces and human tragedy to what otherwise takes the form of dry numbers, faceless hence quickly forgettable statistics is an important task. We can only encourage responsible citizens and activists in every city on the planet to do the same thing, holding those public officials (and let’s not forget, “public servants”) responsible for what goes on under their direct control.

Who is doing this job in your city?

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Meet Streetmix, Where You Can Design Your Own Street (in Penang)

Do you have the feeling that your street could be a lot better if it were designed for people and safe mobility instead of primarily for moving and parked cars? Suppose the entire width of the street, sidewalks, gutters and provision for parked and moving vehicles is, say, xx meters. And if you wanted to see what it could  look like if there were more provision for safe walking, cycling, street furniture, trees and greenery, transit shelters, priority public transport, lane dividers,  turn lanes, and yes, parked and moving vehicles, then have a look at Streetmix (the Website Where You Can Design Your Own Street in Penang).

USA Streetmix - 2 all car

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Good things happen on the street when . . .

Good things happen on the street when the leading edge of the research, little-girlacademic and NGO community in a city — who themselves are up to world standard — line up with the politicos.  And bad things  — very bad things — happen when the planning, investment and infrastructure decisions are made without respect to the experience and all that has been learned, tested and proved in the last decades at leading edge. (Now how hard is THAT?)

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Can you judge a city by its street furniture?

uk-bus-queue-no excuses

Street furniture.  Put it like that and it sounds a bit banal, like a detail. A choice that may or may not seem to be of much important.  Not really “necessary” and perhaps even an unaffordabel luxury for a city at a time of limited budgets. But good street furniture — and even more great street furniture — is a sign of a city that cares. A public space, public comfort  project that anyone can use without having to pay a dime.  And with it we suddenly are moving into a new social space. Continue reading

Op-Ed: The Story of UK Roads/Streets.

Op-Ed: The Story of UK Roads/Streets

  • UK police accidentPoorly designed roundabouts – enabling even HGV’s to travel around them at speed, the police thinking a cyclist could make a driver aware of “him” with a bell or a whistle…
  • Police on bicycles without blue lights or sirens, chasing others through red lights… then stopping others for doing the same, who proceeded with caution,
  • Advanced stop lines seem to provide little benefit, and may have been partly to blame for the death of Cynthia McVitty’s daughter.
  • Humans get territorial, and thus cycle lanes become hazards for cyclists when too narrow, and for pedestrians when they step onto them,
  • Too many cyclists in the UK cycle at speeds inappropriate to the situation.

– Ian Perry. Cardiff, Wales, UK ianenvironmental@googlemail.com

From the editor: Safe Streets? Who cares?

It is a truly dreadful thing for anyone, me for instance, to lay on you anything as hackneyed as: a picture is worth a thousand words. But let me run the risk and show you a couple of pictures and leave it to you to draw your own conclusions. The topic is the first round of reactions to our start-up 2012 collaborative project aiming at clarifying the concept of Safe Streets from a strategic planning and policy perspective. Continue reading

Safer Streets LA – Wrap a couple of spare neurons around this one

From the 2012 Safe Streets Challenge project:
If you are (a) into safer streets and (b) ready to dig in to understand that things out there are not necessarily what one might necessarily think, may we suggest that you check out here this slightly counterintuitive piece that was posted this morning in our parallel Safe Streets project. Continue reading

Roads vs. Streets: Wherein the greater danger?

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.

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Combating the Myth That Complete Streets Are Too Expensive

 from Streetsblog DC takes a good look at this often-advanced view that, good as they may be for a wide range of reasons, the fact is that we just can’t afford complete streets. One more great reason not to change, eh?

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Safe Streets 2012 Challenge: Let’s take a step back to get some context

Joel Crawford of Carfree Cities writes:
“Cities in the modern era have been overrun by cars and trucks. Streets have been stolen from human uses by invasive street users. Not only is this method unlikely to be sustained into the future, it also robs society of some of its most important public spaces. Carfree cities are a delightful solution to many different problems at once.” With that, let’s have a look at his short film that bangs these points home.

Occupy All Streets: The Role of Carfree Cities in a More Sustainable World from J.H. Crawford on Vimeo. Continue reading

The Safe Streets Challenge: 2012 – 2015

After considerable and at times quite contentious discussions over the last months with colleagues around the world through various discussion fora, social media, programs, conferences and personal visits, we have decided to make one of the principal themes of our work here at World Streets for the coming year that of Safe Streets.

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The Battle for the Street: Who won? Who lost? What next?

[Have a look at this good historical piece by Christopher Gray which appeared in today’s New York Times under their Streetscapes/Traffic Wars rubric.]
IN the future, perhaps our time will be known as the first decade of the Bicycle Wars, with righteous armies fighting over traffic lanes, bike paths and sidewalks, indeed over the very purpose of the streets themselves. Like many wars, it’s a question of territory, and the pedestrian has been losing for years. Continue reading

Look at this street & tell us what is happening in . . .

Iran? Most of us have some pretty truncated ideas about the pace and quality of daily life in this large and important country, which has, for various historical reasons, been cut off from the mainstream of international exchange, policy and practice when it comes to their streets. The simple truth is this. Every morning in Iran, some seventy-eight million women, men and children wake up to start their day, and they have to get to work, school, shopping, the hospital, visit friends and relatives, and all the other tasks and obligations of everyday life. It is important that these trips be safe, healthy and efficient.
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The economic case for on-street bike parking

BikenomicsIf 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

The Battle for the Streets of New York City

What was the song? “If you can do it here you can do it anywhere. New York New York”? Well there just may be something to that. Here is some of the latest on how the proponents of more and safer biking in New York City are using social media to gain support from the citizen base, while at the same time an irate lobby is doing its best to keep the streets as they were and, as they hope, ever shall be. Amen Sister. (BTW, this is by no means a unique conflict. It could be your city.) Continue reading

What percent of your city’s street space is allocated to non-car uses

The pie chart you will find just below  graphically illustrates the state of street space allocation today in New York City, after four years of hard work on a committed local effort by city government and many associations to free street space for pedestrians, bikes and buses. All that for less than one half of one percent of the public space given over to cars. So here is our question this morning: Do things look any better in your city in 2011? We invite your reports and comments. Continue reading

Seize the moment: A “Street Code” for Porto Alegre

Dear Porto Alegre and Brazilian Friends,

With all due respect, I propose that you give some thought to organizing to get strong citizen and multi-party support to exact “appropriate compensation” for Friday’s horrible, dumb and indeed tragic event on the streets of your beautiful city. I would imagine that this is a one-time, not to be repeated opportunity to get something very important and far-sighted out of a shaken city administration. Timing is everything in cases like this. You should thus be able to exact what you need today far better than just one week ago. Or a month or more from now once the heat has dissipated. So go for it!
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Mobility please, not congestion on our roads (via India Streets)

Mobility please, not congestion on our roads 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