Ad Nauseam 2010: The Year in Car Commercials [DC.Streetsblog]
Car sales are up, auto shows are packing them in, and the GM IPO was oversubscribed, but there may be no surer indicator of the auto industry’s recovery than the renewed avalanche of car ads rumbling across every medium. And there’s no better way to get a glimpse of what a born-again car culture might look like than to stay on the couch for a spell, un-mute the TV, and watch|that’s right, on purpose|a sample of 2010’s ads selling us our car-centric way of life. Here are some of the year’s most egregious attempts to get us into the dealership by conflating car ownership with American values.
Neighbors won fight for narrower Willy St. | now they want even more [The Capital Times, Madison, WI]
It is a walkable commercial and residential strip that embodies the cityscapes lauded as new urbanism by city planners. It’s also the main drag in a neighborhood that’s home to many of the city’s most outspoken activists. So when the aging infrastructure of Williamson Street on Madison’s east side is scheduled for a rebuild, you’d better believe its citizens will have their say. Speak they have, and managed the unlikely feat of getting the street scheduled for narrowing.
But some say that’s not enough.
How Shared Space Challenges Conventional Thinking about Transportation Design [Planetizen]
Before he died in 2008, the great Dutch street designer and engineer, Hans Monderman, re-introduced to the world the concept of shared spaces as the appropriate basis for designing urban streets. Shared space is based on the idea of self enforcing use of public spaces by different types of users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit and private vehicle operators. The idea has caught the imagination of some designers in the USA, but it is still largely treated as a design style rather than for what it really is – a fundamental rethinking of the underlying philosophy related to the design and operation of transportation facilities.
As She Walks Out the Door, (CT) Gov. Rell Makes it Safer to Walk Down the Street [Mobilizing the Region]
On Friday, outgoing Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell announced significant changes to ConnDOT’s bike and pedestrian policies aimed to improve the delivery of projects, increase the pot of funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects and enhance the existing design manual so cyclists and pedestrians are fully considered as part of the design process, as required by the 2009 Complete Streets Law.
Can streetcars save America’s cities? [CNN]