Category Archives: Car Free Living

Congress for the New Urbanism

Wish I could be there. Maybe next year…

PlaceShakers and NewsMakers

PlaceShakers gets put on ice this week as we, together with most of the urbanists we know, head to West Palm Beach, Florida, for CNU 20: The New World, this year’s installment of the annual Congress for the New Urbanism.

Will you be there?

As summarized by the CNU, “The New World confronts the challenges of peak oil, climate change, and growing wealth disparity, along with worldwide adjustments in the financial, housing, retail, transportation, and energy markets. Taken collectively, these challenges are drastically changing how we do business in the 21st Century, and opening new opportunities for the New Urbanism.”

This comes on the heels of last year’s Congress, where Next Generation urbanists brought fresh ideas and approaches to the wet blanket malaise of the sagging economy. Scott Doyon wrote about some of them in advance of the gathering while Howard Blackson followed up with a post-game analysis

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My new favorite website

This is just too useful:

A gotcha site (with no teeth, perhaps, but it’s still very cool – and who knows, maybe someday it’ll grow fangs!).

I hope one day automobile drivers take safety seriously.

Support a car free Central Park!

Read this.

Then take action. Especially if you live and bike/walk/breath/etc in NYC!

This is the idea! Real, smart and fun development.

PlaceShakers and NewsMakers

Having worked in communities big and small across the continent, we’ve had ample opportunity to test ideas and find approaches that work best. Urban design details. Outreach tactics. Implementation tricks. Many of these lessons are transferable, which is why we’ve created “Back of the Envelope,” a weekly feature where we jot ’em down for your consideration.

Most folks with an interest in planning issues are no doubt familiar with the pedestrian shed or ped shed. The idea is simple. Experience has shown us that the average person will walk, without hesitation or undue kvetching, to destinations they can reach in under five minutes — in practical terms, about a quarter mile — beyond which they begin to consider other modes of travel.

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Breath of fresh air.

PlaceShakers and NewsMakers

This past week, Chuck Marohn and Justin Burslie of Strong Towns gave their Curbside Chat in the beloved San Diego neighborhood of Hillcrest. Chuck’s visit was possible through a fun collaboration between Walt Chambers of Great Streets San Diego, Ben Nicholls, Executive Director of the Hillcrest Business Association, and myself. Forty of San Diego’s most engaged built environment professionals filled the room with a happy-hour sense of electricity in the air.

Chuck then proceeded to ground that spark.

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That’s what I’m talking about!!

Tank crushes car

Now this is what I’m talking about folks!

Need I say more… ? 🙂 See http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2011/08/02/2011-08-02_lithuanian_mayor_runs_over_illegally_parked_car_with_a_tank.html for details

Down with the automobiles!

On a more serious note, terrorism continues in the United States Congress as the Tea Baggers continue to employ their slash and burn philosophy of disassembling the Republic from the inside out. May a swift meteor strike save us all…

How to get 6-pack abs in just 1 month!

I think that we are collectively involved in a wrong war. I’m not talking the middle east here (save that one for another post!), I’m talking about the war in NYC between bicyclists and pedestrians. It’s been going on for some time now, with flare ups interspersed between coldwar-esqe lulls that never mean peace but aren’t quite war. And I have two major quarrels with this war. They are really one and the same, but I need some substance here so bear with me.

My first quarrel is one of general principle. When we, the citizens of this fine city (if you don’t live here that’s fine too, just keep bearing with me – the relevance to your life is coming soon) engage in this war, we are participating in the downfall of humanity via that well trodden path known as Divide and Conquer. Of course we are on the receiving end – i.e. We are not conquering anything, we are actively participating in our own defeat. Stay with me here, this is important if you want to fully grasp my point. God created Man, and gave us feet to walk on. And Man created bicycles, so, indirectly, God created bicycles. But, and here is the important distinction, automobiles, and the entire suburban culture, are products of the devil, in the form of giant, evil corporations and the cold war era fear of nuclear annihilation (whereas feelings about nuclear annihilation today, by those who still think about such things, are different – generally an almost fatalistic, even optimistic, view that whether or not we blow the world to smithereens, it has to get better than this). Don’t argue with me or try to persuade me with contrary facts – I know what I’m talking about here!

Now the real enemy of both pedestrians and bicyclists is, obviously, cars and their drivers. Think about it. If they’d stop bringing their big stupid vehicles into town, the streets would have plenty of room to accommodate both pedestrians and bicyclists. (Anybody who dares to bring up even the slightest flaw in this logic will be mocked mercilessly and then beaten into obscurity with an “I can’t hear you” stick!)

Now, this brings me to my second issue. The fault of this whole situation clearly lies with city management (they’re trying to conquer us!!! – ok, maybe not really. Maybe…). I won’t harp on too much because the mayor appears to be baby stepping in the right direction, but I’d really like to see a communist style redistribution of wealth, applied, of course, to the wealth of moving-around space in this city. Get the cars the hell out of here and let’s see some better resource management!

Have any of you ever taken a good, close look at some of the lane dividers painted on our streets? Or taken a civil engineer’s eye to some of our less perpendicular intersections, particularly in the outer boroughs? I don’t think anyone from the city has either… It’s a miracle more people aren’t killed on these streets every day, whether they’re walking, biking, or participating in the destruction of all life on earth by driving a car.

Oh, and if you really want to get in shape, you should probably get your fat ass out of your car and walk a little!