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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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Multimodal Interchange by Tetrarc Architects

Multimodal Interchange by Tetrarc Architects | green streets | Scoop.it

Tetrarc Architect’s designs for a public transport hub in Saint-Nazaire, France were recently completed. The projects – a bus shelter and a bridge – make up two points in this multi-modal interchange designed to accommodate increasing bus and rail traffic in Saint-Nazaire, while catering to pedestrians and their comfort.


The bus shelter runs parallel to the public square in front of Saint-Nazaire’s train station. The dynamic form and bright yellow hue of the roof adds visual interest to grey surroundings and makes the roof-cover a focal point, drawing pedestrians to it. It gives the impression of speed that is realised in the function of the shelter as a traffic-easing intervention. Daylighting is maximised in the shelter as the gap between its two canopies admits sunlight and a view to the sky. The glossy finish overhead and the shiny columns also reflect light, increasing visual effects both day and night. The overhang protects pedestrians from rain while glass-walled waiting areas shield passengers from the wind, all while maintaining visual connections to the surroundings.

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New 'Slow Zones' Make NYC Streets Safer and Greener

New 'Slow Zones' Make NYC Streets Safer and Greener | green streets | Scoop.it
This week, New York City opened its first neighborhood slow zone, where slower speed limits make roads more accessible to anyone not in a car.

The neighborhood slow zone is a six-block-square area of the Bronx where the speed limit is now 20 mph, compared to 30 in the rest of the city. Signs declaring the slow zone designation mark the entrances to this area, while "20 MPH" is painted in tall letters at regular intervals on the street as a reminder. Speed bumps help enforce the new rule.

The neighborhood is mostly residential, with a high concentration of schools and a history of injuries and fatalities.

The city's transportation commission, Janette Sadik-Khan, spoke at the opening ceremony for slow zone about how it will make the streets safer. But it will also make them greener: slower speed limits make roads more accessible to anyone not in a car.

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Building More Roads Does Not Ease Congestion

Building More Roads Does Not Ease Congestion | green streets | Scoop.it

Congestion is not an easy beast to tame for cities around the world. Building more roads and increasing the capacity of public transport does little to improve congestion, according to new research conducted in American cities and published by economists at the University of Toronto. The authors expand upon the classic “law of peak-hour traffic congestion,” published by Anthony Downs in 1962, which states that “on urban commuter expressways, peak-hour traffic congestion rises to meet maximum capacity.” Researchers believe that the law can be applied to all major urban roads, not just expressways.

The main issue is the intense demand for space on roads. When a new space is opened, either by building new roads or incentivizing drivers to switch to public transport, the road space vacated is soon occupied by more cars. The provision of more road space does nothing to diminish the underlying demand causing the congestion.

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People v Cars: The 20th Century Battle over Cities

People v Cars: The 20th Century Battle over Cities | green streets | Scoop.it

We meet here at the “Towards Carfree Cities Conference” to address how cities are designed, with an overriding interest in redefining what is proper and customary with respect to how streets are used. Part of the emergence of social movements in cities around the world to contest the car, whether bicycling, pedestrians, or street closures, is in response to the seeming inevitability of cars dominating our public space. But automobiles didn’t always fill our streets.

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New evidence that smart growth my reduce local congestion as well...

New evidence that smart growth my reduce local congestion as well... | green streets | Scoop.it
We have long known that residents of smart-growth neighborhoods – those with central locations, walkable streets, nonsprawling densities, and a good mix of shops and amenities – drive significantly less than do residents of spread-out suburban subdivisions. But, writing in his blog hosted by Planetizen, Todd Litman reports on a new Arizona study that found that those attributes can reduce local congestion as well:

[The study] found that roadways in more compact, mixed, multi-modal communities tend to be less congested. This results from the lower vehicle trip generation, particularly for local errands, more walking and public transit travel, and because the more connected street networks offer more route options so traffic is less concentrated on a few urban arterials. This contradicts our earlier assumptions...

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No Room to Play in Cities?

No Room to Play in Cities? | green streets | Scoop.it

A report published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found school-aged children in high-density, well-connected neighborhoods are less likely to be physically active out of school. The study looked at physical activity patterns of children, 11 to 15 years old.

The findings point to the relationship and influence of our surrounding landscape on our daily behavior. They also point out the differing and conflicting ways our environment can affect adults and children.

“Studies have shown that areas like the Webbs’, with well-connected streets and a high density of intersections, promote exercise among adults, who are more likely to walk or cycle to work or the green grocer,” ParentCentral reports. The article also reports that the connectivity that encourages active transportation in adults has the opposite effect on children.

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The Only Hope for Reducing Traffic

The Only Hope for Reducing Traffic | green streets | Scoop.it
A new study makes the fundamental case for congestion pricing...

In 1962, transportation researcher Anthony Downs suggested that U.S. cities suffered from a fundamental law of highway congestion: "This Law states that on urban commuter expressways, peak-hour traffic congestion rises to meet maximum capacity." What was the case half a century ago remains true today. Except worse. In a research paper published in this month's American Economic Review, a pair of economists from the University of Toronto confirm the fundamental law of highway congestion, but argue it doesn't go far enough. 

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Removing Signals and Signs from Intersections Just Might Make Us Safer

Removing Signals and Signs from Intersections Just Might Make Us Safer | green streets | Scoop.it
The Shared Spaces theory has started to catch on in Europe, but will Americans ever buy it?

The concept: Remove all the traffic lights, signs, curbs and lane markings from roads, and people will share them more effectively. 

Drivers, bikers and pedestrians will make eye contact with one another. They’ll cooperate. They’ll move through public space with a greater sense of its communal utility. In Europe, the result has proven to be safer and more efficient – and more social – for everyone involved.

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