Posts tagged cities
Posts tagged cities
The Urbanist Toolkit Bracket Challenge
Geometry tells us that the traditional four-way intersection is inherently dangerous. When you plot all of the potential points of conflict on a diagram – and transportation engineers actually do this – it turns out that vehicles have 32 distinct opportunities to collide into one another at the nexus of two two-lane roadways. Cars can crash into each other while merging or diverging from a given lane. Then the worst action happens right in the middle of the interchange, at that perilous point where vehicles turn left across oncoming traffic.
During the recording of our latest our yxe podcast, we were talking to City Councillor Mairin Loewen mentioned that city are trying to break their dependancy on overpasses to fix high traffic intersections. Costly to build and maintain, other solutions need to be developed that are more sustainable. One of the intersections, Attridge and Central Ave. in Saskatoon is continuing to gain more and more traffic as the city expands in the northeast and is particularly dangerous.
What are some solutions? The city has stated that they would like a complete reworking of this intersection, it needs more than minor improvements. The Atlantic Cities has a few suggestions of new interchanges but I think citizens would revolt if a traffic circle was deemed the appropriate fix. North America is still warming up to the traffic circles and Attridge and Central is too busy for one anyway.
Perhaps one of the solutions is the Jughandle, Superstreet or the Diverging Diamond, but factor in the hope that these areas also remain pedestrian and cyclist friendly, there is still lots of need for new innovative solutions.
The very first scene from The Wire.
Christ knows I quote it enough that it’s worth a relink.
As David Simon now famously said:
[The Wire is] really about the American city, and about how we live together. It’s about how institutions have an effect on individuals. Whether one is a cop, a longshoreman, a drug dealer, a politician, a judge or a lawyer, all are ultimately compromised and must contend with whatever institution they are committed to.
Since it began in 1999, Toronto’s condo boom has added 120,000 units to the city and, in the process, transformed its urban landscape. City leaders are just now beginning to address how to accommodate these new residents.
“In the last decade, the condo boom in Toronto has stacked the skyline with towers. Now, the approximately 250,000 to 275,000 people who live in them say that, in the race to build, city planners and councillors failed to adequately consider how to create neighbourhoods,” reports Dave McGinn. “But the city is finally starting to listen.”
“’I don’t think we anticipated, say, five years ago, or even before that, that this boom was going to continue,’ says Peter Moore, project manager for the City of Toronto. Last month, the city launched the first of its kind series of public consultations to improve conditions for condo dwellers. The initiative is an acknowledgment that Toronto’s condo culture is here to stay.” From poor condo construction to inadequate green space, participants’ concerns extended from inside their units to the larger neighborhood.
“We need to be thinking much more extensively about … condos not as buildings but as part of a neighbourhood,” says Jennifer Keesmaat, the city’s chief planner. “We’re seeing a significant transition in the landscape and the form of the city at this moment that really is the impetus for us beginning to think in new ways about how neighbourhoods are defined in the city.”
Cities like Berkeley, Arlington and Cambridge experienced something different. Even as they cut back on surface parking, the number of people and jobs climbed upward, as did incomes. Less parking in these places has meant the urban fabric can be stitched back together and there is more space for shops, restaurants, jobs and other things that make cities great. More importantly, the parking isn’t needed. People own cars at higher rates, but they don’t use them as much. Instead, they live close to the urban core where upwards of 30 percent walk or bike to work.
Saskatoon still has not figured out this concept. The car is god here, leaving us with longer and longer commutes, a downtown wasteland of parking lots, and detached and isolated citizens who don’t know their neighbours.
It is true that our transit sucks and our winters are cold. But let’s have a radical vision, that really isn’t all that radical, because many, many other cities have already figured it out. More roads does not equal less traffic. Cities should not be built for cars but for people.