Parking was not among the conditions Jane Jacobs said are required to create exuberant diversity in a city’s streets and districts. She did say: “There must be a sufficiently dense concentration of people…” And: “The district must serve more than one primary function; preferably more than two. These must insure the presence of people who go outdoors on different schedules and are in the place for different purposes, but who are able to use many facilities in common.” [Read more…] about Why Parking Still Matters in America’s Downtowns
I recently had a client ask me to look at a local park disfigured by freeway construction bifurcating the neighborhood and cutting residents off from this very expensive and valuable amenity. Environmental problems. Social problems. Economic problems. Could anything be done? What are best practices today? [Read more…] about Don’t listen to Mark Twain – freeway caps gaining traction
New York City’s new math: 100 years, $4.5 billion, 3 subway stops.
New Year’s Day 2017 saw the ribbon cut on the first phase of the Second Avenue subway, the locally-mythic train touted to alleviate the overburdened east side subways since the late 1920s. A Great Depression, a world war and a City bankruptcy interfered with its execution. After nearly 10 years of actual construction and neighborhood misery, three airy, clean and art-filled stations opened for business. [Read more…] about Take a Train: The Q – NYC’s new subway extension is airy and full of art
One crucial aspect of contemporary debates on spatial politics, socioeconomic stratification, and immigration is the issue of public transit. Prior to the question of a person’s right to be in a city (or supposed lack thereof in the case of undocumented immigrants), there is the question of a city’s duty to provide feasible means for moving around in its space. Albeit mundane, it is a key factor determining a person’s economic and educational opportunities, to name only two. And it hardly bears mentioning, but moving around in San Diego all but requires a car. [Read more…] about Public Transit as a Social Justice Issue
Reviewed by Todd Jersey, AIA
Written primarily for urban activists, Janette Sadik-Kahn and Seth Solomonow’s Streetfight documents the now well-copied street improvement initiatives implemented during her six-year tenure as transportation commissioner in New York City. Sadik-Khan/Solomonow’s mission was to “claw back” the public realm from the 100-year onslaught of auto-centricity and to, in her words, “rebalance” our streets to more equitably serve pedestrians and bicyclists and more effectively accommodate other forms of mobility.1 [Read more…] about How Sadik-Khan clawed back the streets of NYC for walkers and bikers – book review
Nearly a third of all counties in California are proposing a sales tax increase to fund transportation on this November’s ballot. But one stands out with organized opposition from an unprecedented coalition of labor, environmental and community groups. It is perhaps the only transportation measure where both political parties, and the main newspaper opposes it. [Read more…] about Measure A: How SANDAG undermines transit, environmental, and social goals.
It’s Parking Day 2016 San Diego! Parklets are all over downtown and elsewhere. It happens on the third Friday of September every year (note to calendar).
Like many westerners, I left a rust belt eastern city decades ago, in the belief that the region, and certainly those old east coast cities were goners. So it was with surprise and pleasure that I recently read in Landmarks, the journal of The Landmark Society of Western New York, that residents with choices are moving back into the old downtown, and even more surprising, that nationally, corporate headquarters are also moving back to urban centers from the suburbs at an accelerating rate. [Read more…] about Take me back to tomorrow – Some surprising indicators of change in U.S. cities
Earlier this year the city unveiled an updated plan to combat climate change, the 2016 Climate Action Plan (CAP). It is an impressive, and ambitious document which advocates a future for the world’s finest city in which the health of citizens and the environment are prioritized. The CAP proudly proclaims efforts to “improve public health by removing harmful pollutants from our air” as one the plan’s top priorities. More specifically the CAP calls for San Diego to contribute to helping California reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by the year 2050, with a shorter-term emission reduction target of 15 percent of 2010 levels by 2020. Although San Diego has one of the most aggressive environmental urban plans in the nation, the city faces the daunting task of overcoming challenges posed by its biggest polluter, traffic. [Read more…] about A few ways to reduce carbon emissions from traffic congestion in San Diego without more roads or rails
After months of discussion and several revisions, the Downtown Mobility Plan goes to the San Diego City Council on June 21st. The plan aims to transform the street grid to an integrated urban network for all including motorists, transit riders, cyclists and pedestrians. Downtown’s workforce and residential populations are projected to more than double within twenty years and numerous buildings are currently under construction. [Read more…] about Downtown San Diego Mobility Plan – to Council June 21st