Goodbye 2020

There are no easy ways to describe 2020 as it comes to a close. In the past weeks writers have been philosophizing,  analyzing, probing for meaning and grasping for lessons going forward. In Asbury Park we can learn from the mistakes made during these months during the pandemic. We’ve had false starts, beginning with rolling out a neighborhood Slow Streets program without enough community input, and quickly dismantling it. We made the great step of prioritizing people by implementing an Open Streets plan on Cookman Ave (with the hope of making it permanent), allowing foot traffic, outdoor dining and retail on the street between Thursdays and Monday mornings. Then a we sent a conflicting message that cars rule, advertising free holiday parking and welcoming drivers back.  Asbury Park social justice advocates are working to limit police interaction in mental health calls and traffic enforcement. And Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition is continually working with city leaders to make city streets safer and more livable, especially for the most vulnerable. None of it will be easy, and we are grateful for community support.

Onward to 2021.

Goodbye to 2020, a Truly Unimaginable Year for Sustainable Transportation

Black Lives Matter Plaza, created by the Government of the District of Columbia, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Photo: Ted Eytan via Creative Commons

Let’s pause for a second and imagine that we could go back in time to Dec. 31, 2019, and tell sustainable transportation advocates what this year held in store for our movement.

Imagine how those hypothetical advocates would react if you told them that, within a few months, roughly two-thirds of all car traffic would abruptly vanish from U.S. streets.

Imagine what our former selves would say you if you told them that such a rapture would prompt countless cities across the country to transform roadways that used to be dedicated exclusively to private vehicles into places to play, move, eat, shop, learn, and more.

Then imagine their faces if you told them that countless other cities would do nothing at all, even as those wide-empty streets encouraged the drivers who remained to speed out of control — forcing per-mile car crash rates to a terrifying, 15-year high.

Read this great article:

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/12/30/goodbye-to-2020-a-truly-unimaginable-year-for-sustainable-transportation/

Do It In The Road: Asbury Park ReOPEN and Slow Streets Pilots

Everyone deserves to have safe streets to access work, businesses, and recreation, especially now when we need more space to move about our cities with appropriate social distance without risk of vehicular traffic.

Asbury Park ReOPEN, a pilot which currently runs Thursdays through Monday mornings, is helping businesses to generate revenue with restriction of capacity, mask requirements, distancing, and limited hours. Separately, “Slow Streets” will be set up on various streets in the city, where vehicular traffic will be limited to local only, allowing residents to move about safely on the street playing, bicycling, walking, and rolling without risk from cars and trucks.

Many cities across the US and the world have implemented these measures, including in CATXKY, OHMA, and many more.  Jersey City’s Slow Streets pilot program is 24/7, described here:

Due to the Covid-19 safety measures, the City of Jersey City is working to provide residents additional open space that supports safe physical activity by designating certain streets throughout the City as “Slow Streets”. These streets will be closed to through traffic so that people can more comfortably use them for physically distant walking, wheelchair rolling, jogging, biking and exercising all across the City.

Enjoy the following blog post and photos from a visitor to Asbury Park’s Business District.

Stay tuned for continued adaptations to the program in neighborhoods all over the city, and upcoming implementation and photos from Slow Streets in Asbury Park. We welcome your thoughts and constructive comments.

WESTWORDS

TUESDAY, JULY 21, 2020

Asbury Park Says Be All You Can Be

ReOpen Asbury Park: Cookman Ave Business District.

Restaurant seating set up on the street.

 

A “Streaterie”, in this case resembling a Parklet

 

Businesses selling wares on the street.

The Book Co-Op set up on the sidewalk for passersby to browse.

 

 

 

 

Design Safe Streets=Save The Planet

The transportation sector is responsible for around 14 percent of emissions.  (Meat production is worse for the environment, but that’s another story!)

“After decades of prioritizing transportation investments in new highways with a focus on speed above all else, we’re stuck with a transportation system that produces more carbon emissions than any other sector in the United States. Spread-out development facilitated by wide fast roads make cars all but essential for daily travel in many U.S. communities.”

More than half of vehicle emissions come from light-duty vehicles, which includes the cars we drive around in for most daily trips. Most car trips are usually less than three miles, and most of these trips are made by car, despite efforts in cities to promote alternative transportation options.

 

People are driving more – By some estimates, the total number of vehicles worldwide could double to 2.5 billion by 2050.  So the uptick in driving more is obliterating any emissions benefits, even with cleaner fuels, the prevalence of electric cars, and more efficient vehicles.  We can all make an effort to drive 10% less to make a difference. And designing “safer roads will increase rates of biking, walking, and transit ridership, and enable fewer and shorter car trips.”

Safety Over Speed: Safe Streets Are Climate-Friendly Streets

8 Nov 2019

Lowering speeds have more benefits besides saving lives: street designs that keep speeds low help reduce carbon emissions, too. In this blog post by our friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Ann Shikany and Carter Rubin discuss how safer roads increase rates of biking, walking, and transit ridership, and enable fewer and shorter car trips.

“In communities across the county, our transportation system provides key linkages for commuters to jobs, kids to school and all of us to our social, family and recreational opportunities.

But the flip-side is that after decades of prioritizing transportation investments in new highways with a focus on speed above all else, we’re stuck with a transportation system that produces more carbon emissions than any other sector in the United States. Spread-out development facilitated by wide fast roads make cars all but essential for daily travel in many U.S. communities.

When you dive deeper into those carbon emissions—you’ll find that 59 percent of them come from light-duty vehicles—that includes the cars we drive around in for most daily trips. While the majority of daily trips are less than three miles, most of them are made by car.

Even worse, transportation emissions are rising because people are driving more and making longer trips. Even with cleaner fuels (not to mention electric cars) and more efficient vehicles, the uptick in driving more is obliterating any emissions benefits.”

Read about it~

http://t4america.org/2019/11/08/safety-over-speed-safe-streets-are-climate-friendly-streets/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+transportationforamerica+%28Transportation+For+America+%28All%29%29

Is Asbury Park A Strong Town? Here’s The Test

Think of the reasons that you love Asbury Park. Four cities were in the semi-final round of The Strongest Town. (Voting is now closed, and results are in as of April 6. Stay tuned.). Would Asbury Park someday be able to see our name on this list?  Could we win? Take a look at the The Strong Towns Strength Test.  Click on the underlined questions for details.  How do you think we would score? Asbury Park might only score a 1 out of 10 right now – We have work to do, but with your support of APCSC advocacy we are moving in the right direction!

Preview the upcoming New book by Charles Marhon, Jr., Strong Towns.: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity.

Strong Towns Strength Test

  by Charles Marohn

We understand that cities are complex, adaptable systems that defy easy or precise measurement, so we asked ourselves: are there simple observations we use to signal that a city is either a strong town or on its way to becoming one? If you went to a place and had a little bit of time, could you scratch the surface and get a sense of how strong and resilient it was?

Here are ten simple questions we call the Strong Towns Strength Test. A Strong Town should be able to answer “yes” to each of these questions. (Click on the underlined questions to read a step-by-step guide for answering that question.)

  1. Take a photo of your main street at midday. Does the picture show more people than cars?

Read more…

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2014/11/15/strong-towns-strength-test