Stephen Rees's blog

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

Car Trouble – And How to Fix It

with 6 comments

Hat tip to Ron Richings who circulated this to the trans-action Google group

For more photos of successful urban places that have removed cars, go to the flickr group I created “Places without cars

Written by Stephen Rees

February 14, 2012 at 8:02 am

6 Responses

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  1. Amusing and interesting but 2 major mistakes:
    1-it isn’t a few euro cities that have some streets without cars but a lot, all around the world outside North America. I have see quite a few in person in Europe, Japan, China and many more when watching international news on TV.
    Friends of mine have seen pedestrian streets in South America, Australia, New Zealand etc.

    2- In the good all days before cars cities had lots of horse draw carriages (many with only one horse but quite a few with 4-6 horses), push carts the size of a single bed, sedan chairs with one porter in front, one in the back etc. etc. Quite a few people in those days were complaining about traffic bottle necks etc.
    The 17th cent. poet Boileau wrote a very funny poem about traffic troubles in Paris..

    Not all the streets before the late 19th cent. were narrow either..lots of room was needed to accommodate private and public coaches pulled by several horses each. Hence the major wide avenues from the 18th cent. one see in many European cities.

    Red frog

    February 16, 2012 at 12:43 am

  2. Back in the early ‘70’s, when we dressed like hippies, we tried setting up a two week celebration at Yew at York in Kits: “You at York” we called it. Our plan was to temporarily dedicate that intersection for pedestrian use with buntings, stalls, bands and whatever makes a summer’s day fun.

    We, being KARC, (Kits Area Resource Council), thought we had it in the bag. The planning Dept was on side. In fact a couple of them (back in the days when planners got their feet wet!) were on our committee. Ron of Ron’s grocer’s was too and of course the pub.

    Well Black’s Photography scotched the whole thing at the last moment. Black’s is now London Drugs. So I guess Mr. Black made a ton of money looking out for him self!

    Around about the same time one other street pedestrian conversion, of which I have personal experience, was very successful: Mayor Jamie Lerner of Curitiba Br . . .

    I’m very impressed. Check out his story . . .

    Governor Lerner defeated the Brasil (locals spell it with an S) Auto club with a decisive and unique strategy!

    Roger Kemble

    February 16, 2012 at 7:15 am

  3. What an inspiring story, with great photos! Thank you Mr. Kemble. And you definitely were a visionary in the 70s!

    This reminds me of what the mayor of Paris did a few years ago. During a month of August, when many Parisians are away, he had 4.5 metres wide lanes (15 ft) built on many boulevards, separated from car lanes by a low divider. These lanes are for buses, taxis and bikes only.
    In September, when the car drivers came back from their holidays, they were apoplectic…eventually they got used to it.
    What amazes me is that all this work had to been planned well in advance as you are talking about kms and kms of dividers, thousands of new signs etc. yet no one leaked the news.
    2 comments under the video are a bit negative but they –Americans I think– forget that Paris has also 14 lines of subways, with a station within 500 metres of wherever one is, PLUS 5 lines of RER (faster subway/commuter trains).

    The problem we have here is that our B.C. politicians and business leaders don’t know and care about what other places do…. how many of them have walked the streets of Portland, Eugene, Tacoma, Seattle etc. Each one of these cities have done some interesting things in their streets…Nothing huge and revolutionary, but worth being aware off.

    It makes me wince when I hear Robertson brag that Vancouver will be the greenest city IN THE WORLD in a few years!

    Red frog

    February 16, 2012 at 10:38 pm

  4. Redfrog is right:, it has happened like it, on a very grand scale like French like:. what a funny “back to school” season it was that year…
    knowing that it was kind of surrealistic to follow the Hornby lane debate: Vancouver is definitely not playing in the same division.
    BTW, may you imagine Paris spending money on a campaign blaming pedestrian for car running over them? …It is what we do in Vancouver, in the 21th century still! seriously ?

    on the comment section, I think it is probably Adriane Carr who dislike bike in bus lane (unlike the Parisian greens, our crops of it are anti-cyclist) …

    PS: I join also RedFrog to commend Roger story.


    February 16, 2012 at 11:47 pm

  5. Roger, I really enjoyed your photo essay. Very apropos comments on the intelligent and flexible application of ‘TX’. Great buildings there too.


    February 22, 2012 at 10:24 am

  6. In horse and buggy days lots of streets had to be wide – it takes a lot of room to turn a team of horses around. That’s not a bad thing.


    February 22, 2012 at 4:53 pm

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