THIS NEW MAP from the NYC DOT shows where pedestrians are killed in Manhattan. The overwhelming majority of the deaths happen to city residents who don’t own cars, to workers in the Manhattan who used public transit for their commute, or to tourists who arrived by plane, bus, or train.
If we had fewer people driving, and all people driving slowly, we could cut those deaths to zero. #VisionZero
Photo courtesy of Galina Tahchieva @ DPZ
ALMOST ALL STREETS IN PARIS now have speed limits of 20 or 12.5 miles per hour (30 or 20 kph). The rue Norvins in Montmartre was already slower than that. Why? Not because of a city-set speed limit or police enforcement, but because of the natural design speed of the street.
The narrow roadway, the poor lines of sight, the rough cobblestones, the unforgiving stone bollards at the edge of the street, the lack of traffic signs (there’s only one, which limits cars to those belonging to residents between 3 pm and 2 am), and most of all, the free-range pedestrians in the middle of the street—these all produce a space that makes drivers unacomfortable driving quickly.
English authorities are introducing a number of shared space streets there. I haven’t seen most of them, so I can’t say much about the Sea of Change film that makes the proposal that new shared space streets in England are frequently unsafe for the blind and disabled. That’s obviously an important issue—if we are going to make slow streets that use slow speed and a lack of the traffic engineer’s separation of car and pedestrian to make safer streets, then we need to make them safer for everyone.
STREETSBLOG published this great image of a 1914 proposal for Queens Boulevard from the Queens Chamber of Commerce. They also linked to a recent project for the Boulevard by a group called Planning Corps. I hadn’t seen either of these projects before (although I know one of the founders of Planning Corps, and saw some of their base data), but it’s good to know that in both 1914 and 100 years later multiple groups and public processes came up with similar ideas.
We know the ideas are enduring and popular.* So, can we build them now?
Second, there are differences in how we might build it today. The belief that maybe Organized Motordom isn’t always right gains more and more supporters, along with still-evolving concepts like Slow Streets and Shared Space. The conceptual images we made for Transportation Alternatives show slow lanes along each side of the boulevard that are very different than the ones shown above. The distance from the buildings to the center traffic lanes are similar (maybe even identical), but the Chamber of Commerce image still gives more room to the cars and less to the pedestrians.