Monthly Archives: May 2004

Transportation Comes Before Land Use

 

 

By Dom Nozzi

 

The condition of the street determines what happens alongside it. I agree with Robert Gibbs when he says it is unfair to require a business to abut a streetside sidewalk when the street does not have on-street parking. The street is too hostile (without on-street parking) to have buildings butt up to it. I don’t at all blame businesspeople for pulling away from the street when the street is a “car sewer.”

 

In sum, either the street is forever to be a strip commercial “lost land” because it is impractical or impossible to put it on a diet (ie, remove travel lanes), or it needs to be made livable (largely with on-street parking and removal of travel lanes) before you start requiring buildings to behave themselves by pulling up to the sidewalk and having an entrance face the street.

 

If we try to force buildings to be pedestrian-friendly before the street is rehabilitated, we risk giving urbanism a black eye and a political firestorm of businesspeople screaming to elected officials not to force their buildings up on the sidewalk.

 

Sadly, we too often keep our fingers crossed and hope that we can fix the development regulations or redo the urban design along a street before we fix the street, because the latter is usually seen as being a non-starter (at least in our lifetimes), and the former is way more do-able.

 

But fixing the urban design before fixing the street is an ineffective path of least resistance.

 

 

_________________________________________________

Visit my urban design website read more about what I have to say on those topics. You can also schedule me to give a speech in your community about transportation and congestion, land use development and sprawl, and improving quality of life.

Visit: www.walkablestreets.wordpress.com

Or email me at: dom[AT]walkablestreets.com

50 Years Memoir CoverMy memoir can be purchased here: Paperback = http://goo.gl/9S2Uab Hardcover =  http://goo.gl/S5ldyF

My book, The Car is the Enemy of the City (WalkableStreets, 2010), can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-car-is-the-enemy-of-the-city/10905607Car is the Enemy book cover

My book, Road to Ruin, can be purchased here:

http://www.amazon.com/Road-Ruin-Introduction-Sprawl-Cure/dp/0275981290

My Adventures blog

http://domnozziadventures.wordpress.com/

Run for Your Life! Dom’s Dangerous Opinions blog

http://domdangerous.wordpress.com/

My Town & Transportation Planning website

http://walkablestreets.wordpress.com/

My Plan B blog

https://domz60.wordpress.com/

My Facebook profile

http://www.facebook.com/dom.nozzi

My YouTube video library

http://www.youtube.com/user/dnozzi

My Picasa Photo library

https://picasaweb.google.com/105049746337657914534

My Author spotlight

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/domatwalkablestreetsdotcom

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Urban Design

“Social Condensers” Belong in a Central Location

 

 

By Dom Nozzi

 

Community-serving “social condensers” (places where a number of residents regularly meet, such as a fitness center, farmers market, post office or government building) should not be located away from a downtown location—a location that is essentially inaccessible by foot, transit or bicycle. In particular, a location that is inaccessible to the downtown residences.

 

catania-italy-walkableThere are a number of reasons why I believe community-serving “social condensers” should be downtown:

 

1. They are an essential building block toward creating a “sense of community.” A central location such as a downtown is about the only place where a sense of community can be experienced, because downtown is where residents gather for cultural, civic, political and entertainment purposes. When community-serving activities leave the downtown, the sense of community declines.

 

2. In the downtown, there are “spillover” benefits. For most any downtown building, it is easy for folks to walk to the building from other downtown locations, or to walk from the building to various downtown destinations. In other words, retail, cultural and office activities can mutually benefit from their proximity to each other, because people at one location can easily walk to another nearby building.

 

3. In my opinion, an essential ingredient in the creation and maintenance of a quality city, as the Toronto Planning Director once said, is that there is at least one place where people can choose to live without being forced to use a car to get to important, regular activities in life. Folks who choose to live downtown (thereby being able to take advantage of a less car-dependent lifestyle) would not be able to walk or bicycle to suburban locations outside of downtown, and find it more difficult to use a bus to get there.

 

_________________________________________________

Visit my urban design website read more about what I have to say on those topics. You can also schedule me to give a speech in your community about transportation and congestion, land use development and sprawl, and improving quality of life.

Visit: www.walkablestreets.wordpress.com

Or email me at: dom[AT]walkablestreets.com

50 Years Memoir CoverMy memoir can be purchased here: Paperback = http://goo.gl/9S2Uab Hardcover =  http://goo.gl/S5ldyF

My book, The Car is the Enemy of the City (WalkableStreets, 2010), can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-car-is-the-enemy-of-the-city/10905607Car is the Enemy book cover

My book, Road to Ruin, can be purchased here:

http://www.amazon.com/Road-Ruin-Introduction-Sprawl-Cure/dp/0275981290

My Adventures blog

http://domnozziadventures.wordpress.com/

Run for Your Life! Dom’s Dangerous Opinions blog

http://domdangerous.wordpress.com/

My Town & Transportation Planning website

http://walkablestreets.wordpress.com/

My Plan B blog

https://domz60.wordpress.com/

My Facebook profile

http://www.facebook.com/dom.nozzi

My YouTube video library

http://www.youtube.com/user/dnozzi

My Picasa Photo library

https://picasaweb.google.com/105049746337657914534

My Author spotlight

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/domatwalkablestreetsdotcom

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Urban Design

Traffic Congestion

 

 

By Dom Nozzi

 

Traffic congestion is an inevitable sign of a healthy, thriving, alive city or community. It shows that the community is attractive enough that people want to be there. It also shows, in some delrayinstances, that the community has not degraded itself by excessively catering to the needs of the car. 

 

Putting too much into car needs inevitably leads to a degradation of conditions that make people happy, since people and cars have disparate needs. Cars like huge asphalt parking lots, high-speed roads, lots of lighting, and no other cars around (cars are anti-social). People outside of cars feel unsafe, inconvenienced, unpleasant and exposed in large parking lots or near high-speed roads. As sociable animals, people also tend to enjoy having other people around.

 

Often, people confuse traffic congestion with a sign that the community is unhealthy. As Yogi Berra once said, “The place got so crowded that no one went there anymore.”

 

Traffic congestion is nearly always our friend (at least in urban areas), and should not be fought against by improving car travel conditions. Congestion does the following beneficial things:

 

1. Encourages infill development.

2. Encourages higher residential and commercial densities.

3. Encourages compact, mixed-use development.

4. Slows down cars.

5. Slows down suburban sprawl.

6. Slows the decline of downtowns and in-town, locally-owned retail.

7. Reduces regional air pollution and gasoline consumption.

8. Discourages low-value car trips.

9. Encourages residential development near or in downtown and employment concentrations.

10. Reduces car dependency.

11. Improves the quality of public transit.

12. Improves conditions for walking and bicycling.

 

In sum, congestion is caused by a community being attractive and vibrant. It is a community that is wealthy enough for its residents to be able to afford to own cars. A community without congestion is an unhealthy, unattractive community. Or its residents are unable to afford to own cars.

 

_________________________________________________

 

Visit my urban design website read more about what I have to say on those topics. You can also schedule me to give a speech in your community about transportation and congestion, land use development and sprawl, and improving quality of life.

 

Visit: www.walkablestreets.wordpress.com

 

Or email me at: dom[AT]walkablestreets.com

 

50 Years Memoir CoverMy memoir can be purchased here: Paperback = http://goo.gl/9S2Uab Hardcover =  http://goo.gl/S5ldyF

 

My book, The Car is the Enemy of the City (WalkableStreets, 2010), can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-car-is-the-enemy-of-the-city/10905607Car is the Enemy book cover

 

My book, Road to Ruin, can be purchased here:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Road-Ruin-Introduction-Sprawl-Cure/dp/0275981290

 

My Adventures blog

 

http://domnozziadventures.wordpress.com/

 

Run for Your Life! Dom’s Dangerous Opinions blog

 

http://domdangerous.wordpress.com/

 

My Town & Transportation Planning website

 

http://walkablestreets.wordpress.com/

 

My Plan B blog

 

https://domz60.wordpress.com/

 

My Facebook profile

 

http://www.facebook.com/dom.nozzi

 

My YouTube video library

 

http://www.youtube.com/user/dnozzi

 

My Picasa Photo library

 

https://picasaweb.google.com/105049746337657914534

 

My Author spotlight

 

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/domatwalkablestreetsdotcom

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Sprawl, Suburbia, Urban Design