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Re: [carfree_cities] Converting areas to carfree

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  • J.H. Crawford
    ... Actually, this is kind of local option. You have to get to at least 2 stories, but that s enough if the building abut one another, streets are narrow,
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 31, 2001
      >Small side streets can be converted into row houses, apartment
      >buildings, or commercial/retail buildings--keeping between 2 and 3
      >stories. I would prefer commercial, so we get some nearby shopping.
      >Although Mr. Crawford's reference design calls for 3-4 story
      >buildings, I must say that I would prefer between 2 and 3.

      Actually, this is kind of "local option." You have to get to
      at least 2 stories, but that's enough if the building abut
      one another, streets are narrow, and interior courts aren't
      too large. The reference design works at FAR=0.75 (instead
      of the default 1.5) if just increase the walking distance
      from 5 to 7 minutes. Transit times are slightly increased
      due to the longer maximum walk and the somewhat greater
      distance between metro stops, but that extra distance is
      traveled at top speed. It adds only 7 minutes to the longest
      possible journey. It does occupy more land, though, which
      means less open space.

      >The question that remains in me is: Is there anything we can do to
      >American-style 4-house-per-acre suburban residential neighborhoods
      >while *still allowing existing residents to keep their property*?
      >Obviously, demolishing or taking away property would make it *very*
      >easy to convert to carfree...perhaps rows of 2-story
      >residential/commercial buildings on the former streets could
      >work--streetcar lines on the nearest major streets. Nevertheless,
      >a plan would yield a weird layout--a cul-de-sac with a Venice-looking
      >building in the center of it. :)

      In the book, I've proposed running rows of new buildings down
      the center of existing streets, making thus two quite narrow
      streets where once there was one broad one. Similarly, the
      spaces between existing houses could be filled in with new
      buildings, and possibly, in areas with quarter-acre zoning,
      new buildings could be built in the large back yards.

      >If the streets are too thin, they can just be converted to common
      >areas. This wouldn't even require repaving--just use the existing
      >asphalt street. Take note, though, that, although they would be in a
      >carfree area (with quite high-priced transit for obvious reasons),
      >they would still be isolated from commercial areas. Although this is
      >not the true "spirit of carfree" (since you'd have to ride the
      >streetcar to all shopping), it would nonetheless be interesting to
      >how it would work and if everyone would go for it. I myself don't
      >American-style suburbs, but some people love 'em to death and might
      >like this idea.

      Commercial spaces can be part of the infill development, bringing
      mixed uses to existing suburban residential areas.

      >One high cost of streetcar operations is the labor. For a bus, the
      >driver has to be specially trained to drive a bus, and have a special
      >driver license for this. Does anyone out there know how much
      >experience is necessary to drive a streetcar? Could the transit
      >provider hire a bunch of 20-year-old college students looking for
      >money, or do they need training like bus drivers?

      I think that in general, more training is required to operate a
      streetcar than a bus. However, I don't believe it's a serious
      issue. You won't be training college kids to do it for the summer,
      but otherwise it's no big deal.


      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      postmaster@... Carfree.com
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