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How to Make City Streets More Friendly


#1

How to Make City Streets More Friendly

Jay Walljasper

Laughter, lively music and lip-smacking appreciation of food from many cultures animates St. Anthony Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota as a crowd whoops it up at the Better Bridges Bash.

Even chilly temperatures and gusty winds can’t dampen folks’ enthusiasm—nor does the unpromising location right next to the roaring traffic on the I-94 freeway. Indeed, that’s the point of the event: to better connect neighborhoods on either side of the freeway by improving the bridges and to explore ways to make the area more friendly to people when they are not in cars.


#2

Good points. And it all starts with getting the private car out of urban spaces.

I was fortunate, for a while to live in a old ethnic neighborhood that had many of the elements proposed in this article described in this article. I moved to this neighborhood with my 1960s-70s generation disdain for cities because I viewed urban areas even in their best, as just very dense versions of the generic suburbia I had lived in all my life up to that point. How wrong I was. The neighborhood had community, solidarity, and spaces for family-owned businesses of all sorts - all sidewalk level and accessed by walking - no parking lots, no chain-anything. Such things cannot exist in a suburban environment. It changed my attitudes toward city living completely.

Edit: Of course, unfortunately, with ongoing gentrification, I can no longer afford to live in the city - and a lot of the techie-yuppies moving in are bringing their cars and suburban attitudes with them. The deep cuts in public transit over the last 10 years has not helped things either.


#3

Thank you Jay for the ebook, I look forward to reading it.

It is a pleasure to me to read about what can be, about the ideal of building a better world in ones community being something that is possible. And I believe it remains possible to build a better world, the elites do not need our labor and creativity all that much anymore and so our greatest resources are available to be put to the task. Better that the elites get out of our way so that we can do this than that they place us in a position where we have no choice but to organize ourselves against them.


#4

How to make city streets more friendly? How about more city street block parties, ( live music, dancing, food, and other vendors ). Bring the fun, and friendly follows.


#5

Thanks Jay, for sharing the Americas Walking Renaissance eBook, and a good article.

Yes, what I would love to see:

  • development of many green plazas, including wider pedestrian and bike paths throughout residential areas. That provides a walker's paradise for all residents -- convenience (shopping) and entertainment. that includes,

  • smaller scale (i.e. not big stores) to revitalize small business opportunities, and provide fair trade for local producers i.e. fruit & vegetable markets, and of course many other conveniences and entertainment.

What is sad:

  • Residential planning in many counties are built around the car, it's roads first -- and for people who don't have a car? Hope there isn't limited public transit, or hardly none at all.

  • big corporations move in on the outskirts; contributing to poor walk scores (visit walkscore.com), and starving small family owned businesses, many are lucky to survive at all.

  • poor planning can also contribute to poor biking scores (visit walkscore.com)

  • the most ugliest sights are i.e. massive parking lots, department buildings and supermarkets that are so big you'll be lucky to see natural daylight. No wonder many people have a vitamin D deficiency.

  • and of course, cars, cars everywhere, traffic, drunk drivers, causalities, roadkill. Guns and murderers kill, so can vehicles and drivers too.


#6

If you are looking to learn a bit more about Friendly Streets Initiative, be sure to check out a short video about our work! You can find the link at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qURw5w1ch-k

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