For decades, providing downtown parking was a top priority for urban planners. Huge parking garages for commuters’ cars occupied prime real estate that otherwise might have been used for housing, stores, or offices.
But ride-hailing services and autonomous cars are going to revolutionize parking in cities across the country — in garages, in lots and along curbs. By 2030, 15 percent of new cars sold will be totally autonomous, according to one estimate. One in 10 will be shared. And as it becomes easier for people to summon shared or autonomous cars when they need them, fewer people will want to own their own vehicle, meaning fewer cars overall.
The bottom line: We’re going to need much less space to store cars. Some cities are gearing up to take advantage of the shift.
In addition, curbside parking will be redesigned. The National Association of City Transportation Officials suggests in a recent study that reuses could include bike parking, small green spaces, called “parklets,” for pedestrians to enjoy, and pickup and drop-off areas for driverless vehicles and ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.
Clarence Eckerson of StreetFilms calls snow “nature’s tracing paper”; you can see patterns of where people walk, bike and drive. In some cases, it acts as a “neckdown”, a curb extension that acts as a traffic calming device, forcing drivers to slow down. In City Rules, Emily Talen noted how these things work, how something as simple as the radius of the curb changes how pedestrians and drivers react: “As curve radii go from five feet to fifty, you get a completely different pattern and scale.”
The snow is doing what the traffic engineers won’t do: narrowing the streets, slowing people down. It’s showing the places drivers and people don’t go. It’s creating “snowy neckdowns” or sneckdowns.
Wherever you live, but especially in the suburbs, you can relate– there’s a mess of traffic around school at drop-off time in the morning. Think about riding your kids to school on your bike, with a kid seat, a trailer or any of the amazing other conveyances that are on the market to cart kids. Or better yet teach your kids how to ride safely when they are old enough to navigate your streets. Wave bye to them in the morning with helmets and lights, and if your city or town doesn’t have great cycling infrastructure, it might be time for you to join or start a Complete Streets movement.
Getting anywhere near a school with a car is a monumental pain in the ass.
If you enjoy driving to the airport, going to the mall on Black Friday, or the abject futility of automotive clusterfucks in general, then by all means, driving a kid to school is for you. If, however, you’d rather undergo colonoscopy prep than sit in traffic with a bunch of self-absorbed parents all competing to see who can get their little darlings closest to the entrance, then you’ll do anything to avoid the soul-crushing indignity of this dehumanizing ritual. So while I’m a cyclist and therefore choose to circumnavigate the whole shitshow by bike, the truth of the matter is that if bicycles didn’t exist, I’d probably be up on the roof of my building in a wingsuit and a BabyBjörn.
…Asbury Park took a leap of faith and launched a multi-unit bike-sharing program. Riders can access bikes via a smartphone app at unmanned docking stations. It’s the first model of its kind at the Jersey Shore. And in the two months following launch, the program — which includes 30 bikes distributed between six stations — saw more than 1,000 trips, and attracted more than 600 members.
“The message is that bicycling is for everyone, and we’re trying the best we can to make that happen,” said Michael Manzella, Asbury Park’s transportation manager. “We want to be a biking and pedestrian mecca.”
Other shore towns may be following suit. Some can’t wait for this two-wheeled renaissance. Others think the idea needs a tuneup before it makes its way to the beach, where too much bicycling congestion can already be a headache, and where some city officials anticipate pushback from existing bike rental businesses. Either way, the offseason conversation happening now could have major implications for your pedaling routine come summer.
Vision Zero is a multi-national road traffic safety project that aims to achieve a highway system with no fatalities or serious injuries involving road traffic. It started in Sweden and was approved by their parliament in October 1997.
SAFETY OVER SPEED
Each year, more than 40,000 people — the population of a small city — are needlessly killed on American streets and thousands more are injured. We call this suffering traffic “accidents” — but, in reality, we have the power to prevent traffic collisions.
For too long, we’ve considered traffic deaths and severe injuries to be inevitable side effects of modern life. We face a crisis on our streets — with traffic violence taking too many lives — but there has traditionally been a lack of urgency from the public and our policymakers to reverse this fatal trend. Even those attempting to address the problem — the traffic engineer, police officer, policymaker, advocate or public health specialist — are working upstream, often isolated in silos or trying to move forward without reliable data, resources, or political support.
Centering equity in Vision Zero
At its core, Vision Zero recognizes that all people have the right to move about their communities safely. All people. At its core, Vision Zero is about ensuring equity on our streets, sidewalks, and bikeways.
Companion Guidance to NACTO’s Groundbreaking Urban Bikeway Design Guide Elevates State-of-the-Practice Facilities for People of All Ages and Abilities
The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), an organization that represents 58 major cities in North America, today released guidance to help cities decide what types of bike infrastructure will best achieve their goals to build bike networks that are safe and comfortable for riders of all ages and abilities. The new guidance, Designing for All Ages and Abilities, builds upon the organization’s groundbreaking Urban Bikeway Design Guide, an internationally renowned technical guide that has helped cities to dramatically increase the number and quality of urban bike facilities in the United States and Canada over the past decade.
Congress is on track to trigger spending austerity that will cut programs like New Starts and TIGER.
“In the middle of the night on Friday, Republican Senators passed a bill overhauling America’s tax code on nearly a strict party-line vote. Slashing taxes for corporations and the wealthy, the bill is projected to increase the national debt by $1.5 trillion over the next decade.
Among many other impacts, if the bill becomes law it threatens federal funds for transit, biking, and walking.”
“The Senate’s action today on tax reform may be a cause for celebration for some, but it greenlights a torrent of cuts to vital transportation programs and infrastructure investments that will ultimately leave our cities and towns, large and small across the nation, less competitive. Whether cuts to the funding to improve or expand public transportation systems or the competitive grants that support the smartest projects, these cuts to transportation programs and investments are a blow to every community working hard to improve access to jobs and opportunity.