Designing Streets for People not just for Cars

Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice(72 page pdf, Volume 16. Number 1, May 2010)

Also discussed here: World Transport Policy & Practice – Vol. 16, No. 2(World /Streets, Aug. 31, 2010)

And here: Manual for Streets(146 page pdf, UK Dept. of Transport, 2010)

And here: Byward Market Pedestrian Area(Pollution Free Cities, Oct.2, 2009)

As the annual celebration of World Car Free Day approaches on September 22, the focus of today’s blog turns to the latest edition of the Journal of World Transport and Policy. It examines the design of streets for walking and cycling as well as for driving cars, echoed in the “Manual for Streets” published by the British Department of Transport 3 years ago. A short list of key recommendations to bring about a more people friendly street world is highlighted – many of these could be applied elsewhere. In Canada’s capital city, for example, a pedestrian area is being planned in the heart of the city’s bustling, but car congested, farmers market (which is shown in the drawing below)

Key Quotes:

Roads are essentially highways whose main function is accommodating the movement of motor traffic. Streets are typically lined with buildings and public spaces, and while movement is still a key function, there are several others”

“High levels of walking and cycling in this study are no longer vague aspirations and poorly supported policy objectives. They actually happen because changes in the physical environment make them happen.”

“Recommendations sent to UK Minister of Transport:

  • Cancel the complete road building programme and motorway widening programme
  • Cancel the complete high speed rail programme.
  • Implement .. emission charging and implement strict noise and air quality regulations around airports to protect local residents from health damaging environments.
  • Implement system-wide reform in all UK urban areas.. – 20% of all trips in all urban areas will be by bicycle by 2020.
  • De-commission 50% of car parking spaces in urban areas and reallocate the released land for high quality, car free, affordable housing.
  • Implement a serious road user hierarchy.. delivers absolute consideration for pedestrians and cyclists and puts car users at the bottom of the list
  • Introduce land value taxation to produce funds for new public transport infrastructure
  • Require a year on year increase in accessibility by foot, bike and public transport to all health, education, employment and recreational facilities..deliver a modal split in urban areas of one third of trips walk/cycle, one third public transport and one third by car
  • Set high standards of public transport provision for rural public transport ..the car is not the default option for rural areas”

“[Manual for Streets]focuses on lightly-trafficked residential streets, but many of its key principles may be applicable to other types of street, for example high streets and lightly-trafficked lanes in rural areas..does not set out new policy or introduce new additional burdens on local authorities, highway authorities or developers. Rather it presents guidance on how to do things differently within the existing policy, technical and legal framework”

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