Re: Temporarily Carfree Portland
- I may have mentioned this here before, but a few years ago, I was
walking around in Tokyo when I came across a side street that was
blocked off with a sawhorse and a sign saying that the residents had
declared it a car-free zone. I don't know how long the sign had been
up or how long it remained up after that (I was on my way to an
appointment and couldn't stop and chat with the residents), but given
the width of the street and the number of little shops along it, I can
see why cars would have been unwelcome.
- When I was in elementary school (in Philadelphia), the principal
would, for before- and after-school hours, park his car dead center in
an intersection next to the school to slow down traffic--he basically
made the intersection into a traffic circle. He most likely did this
with the blessing of the police, since his car was never towed.
By the way, I take issue with temporary street closings, "school
zones", and other such temporary measures. They're a way of saying
that pedestrians are not welcome, unless it's during designated hours.
If an intersection can be made into a traffic circle during school
hours, why not make it into a permanent traffic circle? If the speed
limit is lowered from 30 to 20 mph during school hours, why not just
redesign the whole street for 20 mph and make it that way 24/7? If
downtown streets can be closed for a whole week in December for the
Winter Festival with no harm (and in fact, benefit) to all affected
property owners, why not make it permanent? The only restaurant
downtown with outdoor tables would probably love it.
I've always thought that one easy way to transition to carfree is to
simply make temporary street closures and lower speed limits permanent.
BTW, here in Tallahassee (and I assume we're not alone in this),
vehicles are used to block streets--and everything else. Sidewalks and
bike lanes are seen as free-for-all parking, and the police not only
don't enforce anything, but they do it themselves.
--- In email@example.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
> This message came in recently.
> At 2008-06-30 20:54, you wrote:
> >I thought you might enjoy the revelation that cars are in fact good
> >for something blocking off a street so that citizens can reclaim it!