“Streets and their sidewalks, the main public places of a city, are its most vital organs. Think of a city and what comes to mind? Its streets. If a city’s streets look interesting, the city looks interesting; if they look dull, the city looks dull.” — Jane Jacobs, The Death & Life of Great American Cities
There’s a revolution going on in how we use our streets, but the evolution of the revolution is slow. Complete Streets, Slow Streets, Open Streets—what would Jane say?
Join CNU NYC and John Massengale for a virtual tour of Jane’s Greenwich Village, a history of New City streets, and a discussion of Streets for People and Slow New York.
WHEN: Tuesday, May 4 (Jane’s Birthday), 3 PM (Happy Hour to Follow — BYOB)
A NEW YORK CITY MTA Bus almost ran me over this morning as I WALKED my bike in a crosswalk with a green light. Before he almost ran me over the driver honked at me, loudly, to tell me to get out of his way. And I repeat, I was walking in a crosswalk, with the walk light.
That’s what turn lanes and turn lights do. They give drivers the idea that they have a right to turn, without people getting in their way. And green turn lights and boldly marked turn lanes encourage drivers to go quickly and “take the lane,” because they are clearly in an environment set up for cars—just like in the suburbs. The bus was going at least 35 miles per hour, and so was a long stream of traffic behind him. If the bus had hit me while going 35 miles per hour, I would have almost certainly been dead. While walking with the light in a crosswalk, on an island where 80% of the people don’t own cars.
Earlier this morning, I was at the corner of Broadway and 56th Street and watched while pedestrians going both ways (across Broadway or crossing 56th Street) all had to wait after the turn light went green, giving drivers the go-ahead to turn left onto 56th Street. That should never happen in Manhattan.
FACT: There is an inverse relationship between a traffic engineer’s or DOT’s Level of Service (LOS) and the degree of walkability. That’s why in our petition to the US DOT we proposed a Walkable Index Number (WIN) for towns and cities instead of an auto-based Level of Service. WIN versus LOS equals walkability versus drivability.
Residents of Manhattan deserve better. So do all the tourists walking around the city. The only way Mayor DeBlasio’s Vision Zero pledge to reduce traffic fatalities in New York to zero will work will be to level the playing field and stop giving so much of the “space between the buildings” to the small number of people who drive in New York. Even the planet would be improved if we got over the idea that everyone has a God-given right to ignore the best transit system in America and drive into the city.
The YouTube video above includes a slide show. Some of the slides are closely correlated with the interview, while others are only loosely connected. Click here for a higher resolution version of the video.
The video below only has an image of the cover and the audio track.
Victor Dover and co-author John Massengale have been doing a lot of traveling to talk about their recently released book Street Design: The Secret to Great Cities and Towns. Recent lectures have taken place in Delray Beach, Florida; The University of Texas at San Antonio; CNU-FL in Sarasota, Florida; Florida International University in Miami, Florida; and the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia.