skinny streets

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pages: 340 words: 92,904

Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars by Samuel I. Schwartz

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, car-free, City Beautiful movement, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, desegregation, Enrique Peñalosa, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, if you build it, they will come, intermodal, invention of the wheel, lake wobegon effect, Loma Prieta earthquake, Lyft, Masdar, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Nate Silver, oil shock, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, skinny streets, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, the built environment, the map is not the territory, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, walkable city, Wall-E, white flight, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Zipcar

Exhibit A (there will be more) is the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s “Skinny Streets” program. Skinny streets are just what they sound like: a reduction in the dimensions of roadways by modifying municipal standards. There are dozens of benefits for putting streets on this sort of diet, including increased safety, lower resurfacing costs, and even a reduction in heat re-radiation, which is one of the causes of what are known as “urban heat islands”: metropolitan areas that are warmer than the areas surrounding them because of surfacing materials. Since the stuff used to pave roads and parking lots stores short-wave radiation from the sun, and then returns it with interest as heat, cities get hotter than they would otherwise be, which is not something we really need more of in an era of underlying global warming. But the best thing about skinny streets is that they promote active transportation, both by slowing down cars and by permitting the widening of sidewalks.

A year later, in November 2000, the state of Oregon published their own version, Neighborhood Street Design Guidelines: An Oregon Guide for Reducing Street Width, complementing their adoption in 1991 of a Transportation Planning Rule that obliged governments to minimize street width wherever possible. And they did. A twenty-eight-foot-wide street with parking on both sides has room for only one traffic lane, which sounds crazy, but not in Portland, which has literally hundreds of miles of two-way streets on which drivers have to wait their turn to pass. These aren’t farm roads; the Portland ordinance allows skinny streets in residential areas with densities of nearly nine homes per acre. Road diets are not just a Portland obsession. San Francisco has completed the most road diet programs in the country—more than forty as of this writing. That includes Valencia Street, which was a four-lane road until 1999, when the traffic authorities got out their paint buckets and restriped the street with two traffic lanes, a center median that permitted left turns but no through traffic, and, for the first time, bike lanes.b In 2012, San Jose started implementing its own version of a road diet, part of a new plan for pedestrian safety, that turned half a dozen streets from one-way to two-way.

Vision Zero, a commitment to reducing pedestrian traffic fatalities by 100 percent—to making them vanish. We redesigned a Safe Routes to School program, proposed a system of retimed signals, and introduced Los Angeles to “continental (or ‘zebra’) crosswalks”: prominent two-foot-wide stripes parallel to the traffic flow, alerting drivers that they are approaching a pedestrian crossing. All of the proven traffic-calming measures, from extended sidewalks to skinny streets, are now being implemented in different LA neighborhoods. At a few locations, the city is even reintroducing diagonal crossings: “scrambles” that allow pedestrians at all corners of an intersection to cross simultaneously and in any direction, including diagonally across the center of the intersection. Because diagonal crossings stop traffic from all directions, they can reduce crashes by as much as 50 percent.


pages: 282 words: 69,481

Road to ruin: an introduction to sprawl and how to cure it by Dom Nozzi

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business climate, car-free, Jane Jacobs, New Urbanism, Parkinson's law, place-making, Ray Oldenburg, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, skinny streets, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, transit-oriented development, urban decay, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city

Some of the more common tools are traffic circles (figure 6.1), roundabouts (figure 6.2), speed tables (figure 6.3), on-street parking, narrow travel lanes, fewer travel lanes, traffic diverters, sidewalk bulb-outs, smaller turning radii at intersections, and elevated/textured/brick crosswalks that serve as speed tables. Well known for its traffic-calming efforts in recent years, Portland, Oregon, has a “skinny streets” program for new residential areas: 20 feet wide with parking on one side, or 26 feet wide with parking on both sides. The city has found that such streets help maintain neighborhood character, reduce construction costs, save vegetation, reduce stormwater runoff, improve traffic safety, and make it possible to use scarce land for other than motor vehicle purposes.18 The Portland Fire Department has discovered that skinny streets provide adequate access for emergency vehicles. (It has been noted that it would be more economical to purchase more modestly sized fire trucks that fit local streets than to build all streets to meet the needs of the largest size trucks.)


pages: 321 words: 85,267

Suburban Nation by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Jeff Speck

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A Pattern Language, big-box store, car-free, Celebration, Florida, City Beautiful movement, desegregation, edge city, Frank Gehry, housing crisis, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, intermodal, Jane Jacobs, jitney, McMansion, New Urbanism, place-making, price mechanism, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, skinny streets, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, transit-oriented development, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration

These accidents correlated most closely to street width, with new thirty-six-foot-wide streets being about four times as dangerous as traditional twenty-four-foot-wide streets.al A city sees the light: Portland, Oregon, promotes its new (old) street standards One community that has seen beyond the false safety promised by wide streets is Portland, Oregon, whose fire chief helped to initiate a new public program called “Skinny Streets.” This program recommends that new local streets in residential areas, with parking on one side, should be only twenty feet wide. These humane streets have their critics, the usual cabal of fearmongers, who would like to enforce standards ten feet wider. They insist that the numbers don’t add up—how can two cars pass each other and a parked car in a mere twenty feet of pavement? Of course, the founders of the Skinny Streets program have reason for confidence, since they derived their measurements from Portland’s existing streets, which continue to work perfectly well in the city’s most valuable neighborhoods.


pages: 342 words: 86,256

Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck

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A Pattern Language, active transport: walking or cycling, car-free, carbon footprint, congestion charging, David Brooks, edge city, Edward Glaeser, Enrique Peñalosa, food miles, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, if you build it, they will come, intermodal, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Urbanism, peak oil, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Florida, skinny streets, smart cities, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, transit-oriented development, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, young professional, Zipcar

Perhaps most fascinating is the way that Portlanders refuse to disobey DON’T WALK signs, even if it’s 1:00 a.m. on a tiny two-lane street swathed in utter silence … and even if a blithe east-coaster is striding happily into the intersection (I’m not naming names here). But what really makes Portland unusual is how it has chosen to grow. While most American cities were building more highways, Portland invested in transit and biking. While most cities were reaming out their roadways to speed traffic, Portland implemented a Skinny Streets program. While most American cities were amassing a spare tire of undifferentiated sprawl, Portland instituted an urban growth boundary. These efforts and others like them, over several decades—a blink of the eye in planner time—have changed the way that Portlanders live.● This change is not dramatic—were it not for the roving hordes of bicyclists, it might be invisible—but it is significant.

Resilient Cities (Newman, Beatley and Boyer) Reynolds, Gretchen Riley, Joe risk homeostasis Ritalin Rite Aid Road & Track (magazine) road construction; of boulevards vs. highways; costs of; curb cuts and; elevated interstates and; funding for; for higher-speed driving; of highways, and property values; “less is more” design theory; narrow lanes/roads and; to reduce traffic congestion; wider lanes/streets and “road diets” “Road Gang” consortium Robert Charles Lesser & Co. Rybczynski, Witold Sadik-Khan, Janette Sansone, Leslie Schneider, John Schwarzenegger, Arnold Seinfeld (TV show) Senate, U.S. September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks Sex and the City (TV show) sfpark.org shadow/shaping studies Shared Streets sharrows (wide lanes for cars and bicyclists) Shorto, Russell Shoup, Donald Siegel, Charles Sierra Club Skinny Streets program (Portland, Ore.) skyscrapers Sloan, Alfred, Jr. SmartCode Shareware Smith, Adam Smith, Rick Sottile, Christian Speck, Jeff Spivak, Alvin Standard Oil “starchitects” Stonehenge stop signs streetcars Street Smart algorithm Streets of San Francisco, The (TV show) Suburban Nation (Duany, Plater-Zyberk, and Speck) suburbia; car dependency in; false sense of safety in; isolation of houses in; obesity in subways Summers, Nick Surface Transportation Policy Project Swift, Peter “Synchro” traffic-modeling software Talbot, Noah Tamminen, Terry Target taxis Ten Steps of Walkability Texas A&M University Texas Transportation Institute Thomas, John “3-Way Street” (aerial video) “Top Ten Walking Cities” (Lonely Planet travel guides) Toronto, University of Toward a History of Needs (Illich) Trading with the Enemy (Higham) Traditional Neighborhood Development Ordinance traffic; building of roads and; as calmed by pedestrians; congestion; fatalities; and fuel use; health problems and; on-street parking and; plans for reduction of; push-button signals for; speed of, stress and; time wasted in; two-way vs. one-way; volume of, street size and Traffic (Vanderbilt) traffic engineers traffic signals traffic studies transit systems; conditions needed for success of; costs of; favorability toward; funding for; health benefits for users of; highways vs.; household savings and; investments in; job creation and construction of; linear corridor; local density needed for; neighborhood structure needed for; property values and; small nodal; walkability and; see also trolley lines; specific names of systems Transportation Department, U.S.


pages: 448 words: 116,962

Singularity Sky by Stross, Charles

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anthropic principle, cellular automata, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, Doomsday Clock, Extropian, gravity well, Kuiper Belt, life extension, means of production, new economy, phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, skinny streets, technological singularity, uranium enrichment

Table of Contents Singularity Sky SINGULARITY SKY Charles Stross Prologue The day war was declared, a rain of telephones fell clattering to the cobblestones from the skies above Novy Petrograd. Some of them had half melted in the heat of re-entry; others pinged and ticked, cooling rapidly in the postdawn chill. An inquisitive pigeon hopped close, head cocked to one side; it pecked at the shiny case of one such device, then fluttered away in alarm when it beeped. A tinny voice spoke: "Hello? Will you entertain us?" The Festival had come to Rochard's World. A skinny street urchin was one of the first victims of the assault on the economic integrity of the New Republic's youngest colony world. Rudi—nobody knew his patronymic, or indeed his father—spotted one of the phones lying in the gutter of a filthy alleyway as he went about his daily work, a malodorous sack wrapped around his skinny shoulders like a soldier's bedroll. The telephone lay on the chipped stones, gleaming like polished gunmetal: he glanced around furtively before picking it up, in case the gentleman who must have dropped it was still nearby.