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Posts Tagged ‘pedestrian’

Photo: PCA Architecture.
The Champs-Élysées will be returned to the French people with wider pavements, bicycle lanes, and more green spaces,” says PCA Architecture.

This post is about a more pedestrian-friendly vision for Paris, but as far as I can tell, it’s still in the imagining stage. Covid, ironically, has helped move things along.

Tim Gibson at the B1M describes what it would be like.

“Mayor Anne Hidalgo has given the green light for the city’s iconic Champs-Élysées to be transformed into an urban garden.

“Traffic congestion has seen the famous boulevard lose its grandeur over recent decades, and many local Parisians have abandoned it in favour of more pedestrian-friendly avenues. Hidalgo hopes to bring the road back to its people by removing its outer lanes, widening pedestrian areas, planting more trees and greenery, and creating dedicated bicycle lanes.

“Plans were first proposed in 2019 by local community leaders who begged the government to restore the road to its former glory. …

“The massive overhaul is part of a £225M project to regenerate Paris’ streets and make the city greener and more people-friendly. Throughout Paris, 140,000 on-street car parking bays will be removed and replaced with vegetable allotments, food composting, playgrounds, bicycle lock-ups and more trees.

Local residents have been consulted on what they’d prefer the spaces to be used for.

‘We can no longer use 50% of the capital for cars when they represent only 13% of people’s journeys,’ deputy mayor David Belliard told The Times.

“ ‘We have to plant greenery in the city to adapt to the acceleration of climate change. We want to make the air more breathable and give public space to Parisians who often live in cramped flats.’

“While plans for the rejuvenation of Paris pre-date COVID-19, the pandemic has expedited the entire process. City-wide lockdowns have shifted the perspective of many Parisians – and others around the world. There is a newfound emphasis on public transport, green spaces, parks and community.

“Hidalgo has become a major proponent of the ‘fifteen minute city,’ where all residents will be able to reach necessary amenities such as shops, parks and offices within a fifteen minute walk or bike ride. …

“Copenhagen continued with plans to become completely carbon-neutral by 2025 and have 75 percent of all journeys be done by foot, bicycle or public transport. Like Paris, the city has started transforming many of its parking bays into areas for plants and trees.

“During the April lockdown, London also shifted space on its roads over to bicycles, expanding its network of cycling lanes.” More at the B1M, here.

I’m hoping Alison, who blogs about her adventures in Paris, will weigh in. Carol at cas d’intérêt, too.

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We’ve been speaking of public transit and well-planned cities of late. Here’s a story from the radio show Living on Earth about a Boston neighborhood that is fed up with streets built to keep cars and trucks happy and is demanding a more human focus.

“JAKE LUCAS: On a bright Tuesday morning, in Boston’s western neighborhood of Allston, a small group of locals with picket signs crowds onto a little wedge of concrete. They’re standing on Cambridge Street, right where a highway on-ramp splits off from the fiercely busy six-lane road that has been a sore point for years.

“HARRY MATTISON: Cambridge Street is a street that’s a crucial link in our neighborhood, and it’s also an incredibly unsafe, dangerous street.

“LUCAS: That’s Harry Mattison, a 31-year-old software developer who’s a longtime advocate for pedestrian and cyclist rights in the area. Since Cambridge Street was last redesigned 50 years ago, it’s been high on the list of residents’ complaints, and with good reason.

“Two pedestrians were killed here in the last two years. And one of those accidents happened just a few weeks before this rally, when a car hit a man as he tried to cross from the on-ramp to where the protesters are standing now.

“They’re holding signs with messages like ‘My kids walk here,’ and they’re demanding a safer Cambridge Street. Mattison has three kids, and laments not feeling safe on a street that cuts through the heart of his own neighborhood. …

“The city is already working on a short-term fix to make Cambridge Street safer. But in the long term, the transportation department has bigger plans. It’s going to bring the street into the modern day and transform it using the principles of what’s called a ‘complete street.’ Complete streets look different in different places, but the idea’s simple – make transportation systems about people, so there’s equal access for all forms of travel and all people.

“Boston’s Transportation Department has its own complete street guidelines. The head of policy and planning, Vineet Gupta, says that in Boston, every street redesign will include a handful of features from a menu of possibilities.

“GUPTA: Any street that’s going through a redesign process will have some elements of complete streets in it based on its size, based on what the community wants and based on where it’s located.

“LUCAS: In some places that’s as simple as narrowing the road by adding a bike lane. Projects with more room and better funding, like Cambridge Street, might also allow for things like new bike sharing stations, more trees along the street or smart parking meters that direct drivers to open spaces. The final design will be tailored toward the wants and needs of the people who use it.” More here.

Photo: Jake Lucas
Harry Mattison and residents of Boston’s Allston neighborhood march at the Rally for a Safer Cambridge Street on July 28, 2014.

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Cities that want to encourage foot traffic, public transit, and getting around on bicycles are starting to remove parking spaces in favor of mini parks big enough for a couple planters and benches where passersby might read, chat, or eat a sandwich.

Eric Moskowitz writes in the Boston Globe: “The program, boston.PARKLETS, follows the lead of San Francisco, which boasts 30 parklets, and New York, which unveiled the first of what it calls ‘curbside seating platforms’ in 2010.

“They are part of the growing movement to reclaim urban space for pedestrians and bicyclists and promote public transit. Mayor Thomas M. Menino has proclaimed ‘the car is no longer king,’ citing the environmental, aesthetic, and health benefits.

“It remains to be seen how willingly Bostonians, known for fiercely coveting and protecting their parking spots, receive the parklets.

“Vineet Gupta, planning director for the Boston Transportation Department, said the city will work with merchants and neighbors to find appropriate spots, with the first parklets probably appearing next spring. They would scarcely put a dent in the city’s 8,000 metered spaces and untold thousands of unmetered and resident-permit spots, but they would enliven areas with heavy foot traffic otherwise lacking in public amenities, he said.” Read more.

If you have actually seen where this has been done, do send a photo.

These two parking spaces in Boston could become a parklet — a tiny patio with benches and planters. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)

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