Parking vs. ped/bike. What if the other guy actually has a point?
Last Saturday morning, the 23rd of June, I thought to ask an open question to several of our New Mobility Agenda fora as follows:
Has anyone out there ever run across a solid report or study showing that local businesses suffer financially when a zone is pedestrianized or made bike accessible? Or that real estate prices take a nose dive when such improvements are made? Most of us here are familiar with the other side of this coin, but it occurred to me that this such critical references might be useful to us all, given that these local conflicts and claims come up time and time again in cities around the world.
My reason for doing this was that this matter of ubiquitous business and political resistance to pedestrian and cycling improvements, if they come at the expense of convenient parking and easy car access -- is a battle which comes up time and again with almost the same arguments advanced on the two sides, and which results far more often than not in an impasse. City after city, country after country, you can count on it.
So faced with this I had decided to write a thinkpiece setting out a range of strategies for local government, activists and others who favor softer transport means. And since what I know of the literature is by and large supportive of the out-car in-bike/ped approach, I thought that before leaping into the fray to see if I might do well to get a better grasp on the downside when it comes to real world applications and debates. Or in other words, maybe the other guy just may have a point.
Today, only four days later, we have received more than two dozen communications from academics, consultants, activists and people involved in local government in more than a dozen different countries who set out some very thoughtful perspectives and background, which makes it clear to me that this is an area of transport policy and practice that requires a careful and balanced approach. But let's think about handling this in two stages, starting with the open dialogue without editorial or analysis on my part.
Let me today invite you to see the responses that have come in thus far which are all summaries on our World Streets Facebook site at http://www.facebook.com/worldstreets. You will see the original question and the responses to date if you simply scroll down the page.
For the rest, once the flow is stemmed, we can get down to the strategy piece and recommendations.
Kind thanks to all who have generously joined in. And if you have not yet shared your references or ideas, this forum is still wide open.
- Dear all,We, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, and University of Ruhuna are undertaking a research to develop a Walkability Evaluation tool to evaluate walkability in streets of developing countries.We expect to develop this tool based on the opinions and evaluation of the professionals.
I would kindly expect your help to distribute this information to relevant people whose work involves (has involved) road planning/design/construction/maintenance and management .The research consists of three questionnaires to be filled in three stages. Each questionnaire consists of several questions in which you are expected to stateyour opinion by selecting a suitable answer or stating the degree of importance by way or a numerical value.Your response is of utmost importance to us.Questionnaire of this research is available on the following website: www.walkabilitysurvey.tkIf you are willing to assist us for this work, please visit this website and kindly complete questionnaire. We would greatly appreciate if you can fill this by 2nd July2012. Please be kind enough to enter your name and other requested details on the questionnaire. We guarantee that your information will only be used for this research and will be kept confidential.Should you have any queries or comments regarding this survey, you are welcome to contact us via telephone at 091-2245765/ 091-2245767 or e-mailYours sincerely,Dr. G.N. Samarasekara,Senior Lecturer Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering,Faculty of Engineering,University of Ruhuna.