Tuesday, August 19, 2008

If they can make it there . . .

A pedicab goes down the dedicated lane for it on the newly-reconfigured Broadway north of Herald Square.

Matthew Yglesias has links to two excellent discussions of Complete Streets among his posts for today. In the first, he links to an article in the Boston Globe Magazine; in the second, he links to a post from Streetsblog on the new "Broadway Boulevard" project. Go have a look.

Yglesias argues that a citizenry gets the city it has the will to work toward, that the form it takes is not inevitable:
[A] town or city needs to decide whether or not they really think that maximizing vehicle speed is the right priority for the design of their streets. If you decide to make it the priority, then you’ll wind up with a city that’s bad for pedestrians — narrow sidewalks, wider roads to cross, walk signs that only work if you press a button, intersections where walkers defer to turning traffic, etc. — and at the same time you’ll have fast-moving vehicles that tend to collide with human beings in a relatively deadly manner. If you decide not to make it the priority, then you get the reverse — wide sidewalks, narrow road crossings, adequate walk signals, and intersections where turning traffic defers to pedestrians. Cars will move slower through your city and there will be fewer car-person collisions and those that do occur will be less lethal.
And, I'll just add: streets with fewer cars, because alternate methods of getting about town will be more appealing.

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