COVID Place making
May 19, 2020

Street Conversions: Notable by Our Absence

CNU – the Congress for the New Urbanism – has just provided an extensive list of cities that have transformed underutilzed streets with little traffic into temporary pedestrian and bicycle thoroughfares, shared streets, bikeways, expanded sidewalks, and outdoor eating.

“Although these projects are temporary, they may lead to permanent changes in cities, Mike Lydon (of Street Plans Collaborative) said in a recent Smart Growth America presentation.

There are seven types of projects.

Here’s one:

Temporary bikeways. There is a huge surge of bicycling worldwide because people are avoiding buses and trains … and many cities are adding temporary bikeways.

Examples include Berlin, Germany; New York City, Paris, France: Auckland, New Zealand; Mexico City; Budapest, Hungary; Brampton, Ontario.

The article lists cities from around the world, as well as extensive references to other ones in the U.S. and Canada.  Except one.  One city is notable by its absence.


When Brampton gets listed and we don’t, that is embarrassing.


Read more »

On the occasion of Vancouver’s big car-free weekend — Car Free Day events occurred yesterday in the West End and Kitsilano, and the main event takes place today along 20+ blocks of Main Street — perhaps it’s time to roil the waters with a question. Does traffic congestion slow down economies, productivity, or job growth?

As reported by CNU Public Square, researchers at the University of Colorado at Denver and Florida Atlantic University conclude that it doesn’t.

In fact, they suggest there could be such a thing as “good congestion” and “bad congestion,” just like there’s “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol.”

Read more »

From CNU Public Square:

When it comes to growth patterns, sprawling cities matter. The largest 25 are home to 20.7 million people—and they anchor metro regions with 53 million people, about one-sixth of the US population.

This may be hard to imagine today—but in 1950 these were compact, small- to mid-size cities. Only three—Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio—had a population of more than 400,000. Now they are the biggest US cities by land area and among the largest demographically—six have more than a million residents and Houston, the most populous, tops 2.3 million. … Sprawling cities have a relatively high percentage of single-family detached housing—56 percent of total housing. In the largest traditional cities, that figure is only 22 percent.

Metro areas of all kinds are becoming more urban and walkable in their growth patterns, according to research by Locus, a part of Smart Growth America. The metropolitan areas encompassing sprawling cities have a “fair share index” of 2.3, which means that commercial development in their metro area is trending toward “walkable urbanism” at a ratio of about 2.3:1. The index measures the marginal market share increase or decrease for net absorption of real estate for a given time period, compared to market share at the beginning of that time period, Locus explains. [1]
The urban form of principal cities may influence urban patterns throughout metro areas. The regions centered by traditional cities have a fair share index of about 3, while the regions surrounding sprawling cities are becoming more urban—but at a slower rate.
Full article here. Read more »