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News & Notes

Across Europe, Irking Drivers Is Urban Policy [The New York Times]

While American cities are synchronizing green lights to improve traffic flow and offering apps to help drivers find parking, many European cities are doing the opposite: creating environments openly hostile to cars. The methods vary, but the mission is clear – to make car use expensive and just plain miserable enough to tilt drivers toward more environmentally friendly modes of transportation.


Some local greens on the Greenway [Boston.com]

A public food market in downtown Boston will feature up to 100 vendors of fish, produce, wine, cheese, and other local products in a facility that will feel more like a bustling European bazaar than a grocery store, according to an operating plan released by the state yesterday.

After years of false starts and dead ends, state agricultural officials unveiled a detailed layout and financial plan for the market that will operate out of a state-owned building on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway near Faneuil Hall and the Haymarket pushcart vendors.

Two words: Kennedy Plaza.
Two more words: The Arcade


Are Speed Limit Signs a Cost-Effective Strategy to Manage Urban Speeds and Implement 20MPH “Living Streets”? [New Haven Safe Streets Coalition]

Studies have proven that 20 MPH speed zones have a dramatic impact on reducing the level of pedestrian injury. Slower street speeds are also associated with benefits such as more social connections, a stronger sense of community, reduced noise and stress levels, higher property values, more accessible walking and better conditions for bicycling. Unfortunately, citywide traffic calming projects, such as those created in many European cities over the past 30 years, can take many years or even decades to roll out across an entire city. So how can cities move forward on creating these zones in a more cost-effective way?


James Howard Kunstler: Back to the Future A road map for tomorrow’s cities [Orion Magazine]

Sometimes Kunstler can be far to grating and his personality can obliviate his message, which is usually important. However the issues he’s been raising lately require bluntness. This article is well worth the read. Plus the city of the future he is advocating is our City State.

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7 Responses to News & Notes

  1. Andrew I June 29, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    This cracked me up:

    “In Hartford, Connecticut, a 10 MPH speed limit is posted in front of the Legislative Office Building, and helps protect the lives of our state legislators.”

    Ha! They got nuthin’ on the World’s Tallest Speedbump!

  2. Andrew I June 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    And F** the New York Times.

    How about…

    Across America, Constant Peril for Non-Drivers is Urban Policy

    Across America, Mandatory Car Ownership is Urban Policy

    Across Europe, Safety, Health and Enjoyment of People Who Do Not Happen to Be In Cars* is Urban Policy

    *Most People Most of the Time

    I could go on.

  3. Jef Nickerson June 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    I was going to post a Tweet from someone I follow that expressed the same sentiment, then I forgot.

  4. Rick S. June 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    Question, wasn’t Westminster St. downtown made a pedestrian mall for a period of time, back towards the beginning of the “Renaissance”? Whatever happened to that?

  5. Peter Brassard June 29, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    Yes, it was made a pedestrian mall, as well as, Union Street between Westminster and Weybosset, but in the mid 60s before the Renaissance. It was enormously successful packed with people until Shepard’s Department store went bankrupt in 1974. Shepard’s bankruptcy can be mostly attributed to the rise of suburban shopping malls. Though the 1973 oil embargo and resulting deep recession probably contributed as well. Following the mid 70s the decline was steady. The mall was completely resurfaced/redesigned to entice shoppers to return, but it was already too late. It was torn up and returned to vehicular street traffic in 1986. The Renaissance didn’t really start until the middle to late 80s.

  6. Rick June 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Thanks Peter, that’s great information. R.

  7. carfreepvd June 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    It just takes a little bit of selective editing to make the second sentence of that NY Times article apply to the U.S.:
    “The methods vary, but the mission is clear | to make pedestrians just plain miserable enough to tilt them toward less environmentally friendly modes of transportation.”

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