Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

On the Street: Clear Sailing

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A New York Times feature – images and commentary by Bill Cunningham of the closure of Park Avenue to cars. This was a one day opportunity for people to take over the street – and they did, on bikes, segways, shopping carts, skateboards. Even walking!

The impact of this kind of official action is, I think, a lot more hopeful than demonstrations like the regular Critical Mass rides. It does not have the aggressive attitude for one thing. And there is some ability for people to plan their own routes to get around the closed road. At the same time it does demonstrate what cities can become if we get serious about reducing the impact of cars.

One criticism voiced in the piece is that some merchants complained they lost business. But Park Avenue really does not depend on cars for access – simply because for much of the time the traffic just clogs up the road, and there are very limited opportunities for parking. Most people in Manhattan do not drive to get there. They come in by train, subway or ferry. Or they live there. The majority of vehicles you see ont he streets of Manhattan are taxis or delivery vehicles. And the cross streets were all open so anyone who needed to could get within a block of their desired destination.

34th Street

34th Street

Written by Stephen Rees

August 31, 2008 at 10:34 am

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