Off to the BC Land Summit in Whistler for a few days. The subject of our panel (with Deborah Curran and Whistler Mayor Ken Melamed) is “Highway to Where? Transportation Choices & Land Use Consequences” – always a favourite.
I’m focusing on the World of Motordom – the way we’ve been building our urban regions for most of the last century – and the post-Motordom world into which we’re heading.
More evidence: this weekend, New York City will be closing five blocks of Broadway to motor vehicles through Times Square, and another in Herald Square.
It’s all part of the strategy of “Sustainable Streets” inspired by the work and analysis of Copenhagen urban designer Jan Gehl and promoted by NYC’s Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn, with inspired leadership from the Mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
How sincere are they? Well, they’ve just published a new street design manual that will help accelerate the direction they already taken on some major avenues in the city.
Reports the NY Times (along with a clever illustration):
The manual, to be released on Wednesday, culminates nearly two years of work involving more than a dozen agencies led by the Department of Transportation.
By offering “a single framework and playbook,” as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg says in the introduction, the manual promises to simplify the design process and reduce the costs for city agencies, urban planners, developers and community groups.
Urban planners say that the document is long overdue, and that it promises to be as much a map to the future as it is a handbook for the present: getting people to think about streets as not just thoroughfares for cars, but as public spaces incorporating safety, aesthetics, environmental and community concerns.
Who would have thought a few years ago that New York City would be leading us into the post-Motordom world? Vancouver will have to work hard to catch up.