Posts about RoadsRSS

  • Conservatives for congestion pricing

    “I can’t believe I’m saying these words,” wrote Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, “but I applaud the Bush Administration for their forward thinking on the issue of congestion and thank them for their willingness to work with local governments to address their unique problems.”…  Keep reading…

  • Closing the bowtie

    Times Square is one of the most crowded pedestrian areas in the city.  As I covered over a year ago, the Times Square Alliance, the local business association, suggested closing the cutover between Seventh Avenue and Broadway - the “bowtie”, to create additional pedestrian space between the two avenues. …  Keep reading…

  • Good riddance ugly planters

    Times Square is crowded.  At almost all hours, the sidewalks are full of pedestrians.  But that didn’t stop a bunch of buildings from installing large planters or other barriers after 9/11.  They ostensibly kept potential terrorists from driving up to the buildings, but more often (i.e. almost constantly) kept potential pedestrians from having room to…  Keep reading…

  • Freeways that never were

    In the 1950s and 60s, urban planners were busy constructing freeways across America, through plains and mountains where they were needed, and into the centers of cities where they bulldozed vibrant communities and hastened sprawl and urban decay.  Keep reading…

  • Gowanus tunnel?

    In The Power Broker, Robert Caro describes the Gowanus Expressway as one of Robert Moses’ first of many terrible highway projects.  He ran the highway right down the center of Sunset Park, completely covering the then-vibrant Third Avenue despite the neighborhood’s pleas to run it closer to the waterfront.  The Gowanus needs to be replaced, and since the…  Keep reading…

  • Bravo Gale

    For many reasons, some known, some not known, the New York City Department of Transportation is still mostly stuck in the SimCity Classic phase of urban planning thinking, closer to Robert Moses than Jane Jacobs.  While they did recently suggest, to the surprise of many observers, converting a segment of Willoughby Street in Downtown Brooklyn to be pedestrian-only, DOT Commissioner…  Keep reading…

  • Good ideas almost everyone wants

    The New York Times came out in favor of congestion pricing.  Local business leaders want it, activist groups want it… but Bloomberg still doesn’t.    Keep reading…

  • Thin layer of ice found in hell

    Smart growth, transit-oriented development - there are many names for the idea of building mixed-use, walkable communities.  Whatever you call it, it’s starting to catch on in suburban communities from San Mateo to Silver Spring.  But most are areas with existing transit, near to already walkable cities.  What about America’s great bastions of…  Keep reading…

  • Congestion pricing, pro and incoherent

    Enjoying a new spate of publicity, the idea of congestion pricing rated a pair of columns, pro and con, in the Daily News.  The pro article, by Paul White of Transportation Alternatives, laid out some clear arguments backed up by facts: London’s pilot program reduced traffic 18% and sped up travel by 30%, in addition to generating revenue for mass transit projects.  Keep reading…

  • Congestion pricing: an idea whose time is coming

    Congestion pricing in Manhattan below 60th Street is “being whispered in the ears of City Hall officials” according to the Times (in an article written by Sewell Chan!)  It’s an idea that keeps popping up, for the simple reason that it’s an obvious, huge win.  The only obstacles are inertia, and Queens councilmembers representing a small minority…  Keep reading…

  • News flash: people drive more if there is parking

    A study from San Francisco State shows something that should be obvious, but isn’t to the New York City Council: if there are fewer parking spaces, people choose to drive less.  Therefore, San Francisco should limit the amount of parking in new developments, rather than requiring a certain amount as it does today. More about free parking, and its costs, in this SF Chronicle editorial.  Keep reading…

  • Memorable Phrases for Parks

    I’m in the bloggers’ area of the Parks1 Mayoral Forum.  Up on stage, Democrats Gifford Miller, Virginia Fields, Freddy Ferrer, and Republican Tom Ognibene, are telling us why they all love parks.  Keep reading…

  • El Camino Bonito

    I walked across El Camino Real - once.  This road, once the main thoroughfare through Silicon Valley, is now a 50 mile long strip mall of motels, gas stations, mattress stores, car rental places, fast food, and one major university.  Every business or shopping center along its length has a parking lot.  In the utopia of sprawl, El Camino Real would be Main Street.  Keep reading…

  • Two plans for Times Square

    Times Square was once a seedy place that many New Yorkers avoided, except for brief forays to a Broadway show.  Today, many New Yorkers still avoid it, but for the opposite reason - it is really, really crowded.  According to the Times Square Alliance, streets in Times Square burst with up to 16,817 people per hour on the busiest sidewalks, plus 1,279 people who can’t…  Keep reading…

  • The congestion pricing idea spreads

    San Francisco sees the light too.  But this isn’t so much of a surprise since they already have a pretty progressive attitude toward automobiles.  When will New York?  Keep reading…

  • They’re smart up in Boston

    I just ran across this month-old news report that Boston is considering London-style congestion pricing for roads downtown.  The idea is that during peak hours, drivers would pay $1-$5 to drive into the most congested downtown areas, and the money raised would go to public transportation improvements.  Mayor Menino is reportedly even open to considering the idea. …  Keep reading…

  • Go go gadget transportation!

    I just got off the NJ Transit bus #126 coming home from Drinking Liberally.  Coming back after a late night at Rudy’s was never so painless.  I knew a bus left at 12:55 (after midnight they’re every 30 minutes), so I walked out at 12:45, made it to the bus a few minutes before departure, and was already home by 1:15.  Compare this to walking all the way to 7th…  Keep reading…

  • The sprawl lovers

    There’s something aesthetically appealing about big, soaring highway ramps conveying a feeling of speed and mobility.  And I can understand why, in Robert Moses’ day, people could have thought building highways was a grand endeavor.  But we now know they just don’t work.  Or do we?  Alex Marshall, author of one of the best books on sprawl,…  Keep reading…

  • Slower, messier, safer, better

    Reading about urban planning it often sounds like the engineers back in the 60s had no clue.  They thought it was just great to bulldoze whole neighborhoods to build freeways partly because freeways made people drive faster, thereby reducing the amount of pollution they emit because cars are more efficient at higher speeds.  But really it just encourages people to live…  Keep reading…

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