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Thread: Pedtopia? What's yours look like?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Pedtopia? What's yours look like?

    That’s a pedestrian’s, not a pedophile’s utopia.

    Ok, so you are a planner. Not that there is anything wrong with that. That probably means you have designed the perfect city in your head a 100 times.

    You rage against SimCity's inflexability for not allowing you to ban the auto within city limits.

    You know that the future is in a medium density updated version of the English garden city.

    Well, time to pony up. What is YOUR contribution? What neat idea have you come up with to make PEDTOPIA? Tell us about the perfectly walkable city you have designed in your brain.

    Budgie?
    jresta?
    nightmare?
    gitmo?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    My ultimate pedestrian city begins with good vehicular access and parking. Let's face reality, the car is here to stay. At the same time, garages and parking are not prominant. Quality architecture faces our streets and paths. Homes, townhomes and apartments can be constructed fronting onto parks, with only alleys to garages on the back of the buildings. Uses are mixed and in proximity to each other so that people can walk, ride a bike, or Segway if they choose, but they can also drive. Truck traffic is routed outside of neighborhoods whenever possible. Commercial districts, from downtowns to strips to malls, are designed equally for pedestrians as for cars. Roads are not designed with the highest priority of moving traffic through quickly.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    How about banning commercial deliveries in anything larger than a full sized auto chasis based van in the fussganer zone? I hate it when people deliver in an 18 wheeler or beer truck sized vehicle downtown. It makes the area dangerous.

  4. #4
    Mine would look like this:


    Just kidding.

    My pedestrian utopia would look somewhat like Michael Stumpf's. I would require sidewalks everywhere and bicycle/segway paths to all major destinations. I would devise some type of community bike parking requirements that would have locks built in, similar to those lockers where you drop in 25 cents and get the key and get the 25 cents back when you return the key and unlock your bike. I hate dragging a bike lock around.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  5. #5
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Three words = “dense mixed use”

    To truly be a pedestrian city, one must be in proximity to “ped” themselves where the need to go. In my dream city, the development would dense and the use would be mixed.

    There could also be “creative parks” such as sitting areas on roof-tops…as such.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  6. #6
    I almost forgot, my city would be very dense and would have lots of mixed uses. Parks all over like in Savannah, GA and an eclectic mixes of businesses/restaurants/bars like Greenwich Village. I would require that all apartments/condos/and houses have porches or patios too.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  7. #7
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Time to put on the Sim-City geek hat

    Mine has many of the New Urbanist features described above with a few additions.

    First, freeways would not enter the Urbanized area itself. All inbound traffic (for those who refuse to ride the state-of-the-art lightrail/streetcar syatem)would be routed onto boulevards, for traffic speds up to 45-50mph, and then onto arterials on down to neighborhood streets. All streets would have sidewalks and all boulevards and other major streets would include bike lanes.

    Another feature of my pedtopolis would be that it would be more of a collection of small towns rather than a single large city. One or two street neighborhood mixed-use commercial districts, of various densities throughout the city would provide all basic needs, doing away the need to drive for most services. A CBD would be developed simply to create the physical critical mass of professionals needed by the business community. This would, of course, be easily accessible from all parts of the city via streetcar.
    Last edited by biscuit; 30 Apr 2003 at 5:07 PM.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    i noticed i was summoned to respond so -

    I wouldn't design a place that banned cars. I don't think it would work.

    but great walking/bike towns that i've been to are Charleston, Savannah, Barcelona, Montpellier (Fr), Geneva, and Philly - Society Hill in particular. Cape May, Ocean Grove, and Spring Lake, NJ are also up there on my list.

    Also, the Fairview section of Camden (formerly known as Yorkship Village) was built in the Garden City tradition. The only thing that sucks about it is the limited transit access.

    I list these because of what's available on foot - access to life's necessities as well as ammenities. Also for the relative level of safety afforded to pedestrians. That's what I look for. If I had to think of ways to tweak a place to make it more friendly for peds and bikes, well, I'd prob. go with the basics of widening sidewalks, slowing cars down, maybe banning cars from certain blocks in particularly dense areas.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I'm more relaxed on the desity issue. Yes, there would be hubs where residential density might be higher, but I would not object to large areas of mostly single family homes, with some on large lots. Actually, I kind of like the idea of varying lot sizes in a subdivision, where they might be as small as a few thousand square feet or as large as an acre, with perhaps an overall ratio of 3-4 homes per acre (in these subdivisions). I would probably limit street frontage to no more than 125-150'. In addition to varying lot sizes, I would accommodate duplex and larger attached units scattered throughout.

  10. #10
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Lots of nudie bars... and light rail. Portland!
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  11. #11
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Originally posted by Mastiff
    Lots of nudie bars... and light rail. Portland!
    LMAO! I used to live a block from the Sandy Jug.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I would be happy to take back the rights-of-way in our older areas. Stop cars from using the sidewalks for parking...yada, yada.

  13. #13
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Originally posted by nerudite
    LMAO! I used to live a block from the Sandy Jug.
    *grin*

    Was the Rim Rock at the end of MLK Blvd. still open?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

  14. #14
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    What about giving businesses a break on off street parking if they provide shower facilities for their employees to use after biking or walking to work?

  15. #15
    Favorite walkable cities:

    New Orleans. Interesting things around every corner. Specialty shops that sell nothing but toy soldiers or dusty old books. Smells of great cooking. Sounds of jazz bands or the guy on the corner blowing his sax. Somewhere that reaches all of your senses!

    Seattle. Probably because by walking up and down those hilly streets, it's the first time I've ever LOST weight while on vacation (aka National APA Conference).

    Combine them both, and that's my Pedtopia!

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Moving sidewalks everywhere....

    Actually, and this is a theoretical thing...when I was at U of FL, if you lived within a certain distance of the university, you could not get a parking pass, you had to ride the bus, walk, bike, etc. There was a limited amount of on-campus parking, and gosh darn it, I had to find another way to get there. So why can't cities do the same? I rode the bus and filled up my tank maybe once a month. What a deal!

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Re: Pedtopia? What's yours look like?

    Originally posted by El Guapo
    You know that the future is in a medium density updated version of the English garden city.
    Dude, you've obviously spent too much time studying for AICP... Step away from the green book and no one gets hurt....

  18. #18
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    It hurts. Please make it stop. Make the bad AICP man stop...

  19. #19
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Originally posted by El Guapo
    What about giving businesses a break on off street parking if they provide shower facilities for their employees to use after biking or walking to work?
    Good idea. Only the top dogs get parking here.
    It's already a warm muggy day here and, after walking the 1.75 miles to work, I feel like I could take another shower. I hope I'm not ripe and gamey before luchtime.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian jmf's avatar
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    The city where I grew up has 6 universities/colleges plus several campuses of a community college system. One university has introduced a combined student card/bus pass. The fee for the bus pass is included in their student fees and they can use the bus pass anytime anywhere. The cost of the pass is MUCH cheaper than buying a monthly pass. Other universities are looking into introducing this. It will be interesting to see if it makes a difference in traffic and parking around the universities.

    That would be a major part of my pedtopia. Also, lots of green space and trails which not only provide recreation but also links areas of the community. The Grand Concourse in St John's, Newfoundland is an awesome example of this especially for a city where the car rules most of the time!

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    Boston and Cambridge are very walkable. I believe in the last census, Boston had the highest percentage in the country of people who walk to work.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    No big boxes or local business-ruining chain stores.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  23. #23
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    I don't think density has much of anything to do with a place being pedestrian friendly. I prefer a relative level of density for the ammenities that come with it.

    I spent two weeks in Co. Antrim/Derry in the north of Ireland, and while the younger locals seemed to drive everywhere, i didn't set foot in a car the whole time. We took the train up from Belfast and caught buses from town to town and if we needed to we hoofed it to the smaller villages. If i had a bike with me I don't think i'd have needed the bus at all.

    Granted I was on vacation and time wasn't really an issue but the footpaths/trails were abundant and useful.

    No big boxes or local business-ruining chain stores.

    at a town meeting last year - http://www.collingswood.com - the mayor of my old town was asked what was going to happen with an old pharmacy that has been vacant since the owner decided to retire. The store occupied a fairly prominent corner in a secondary business district - he said:

    "we're looking at trying to get a coffee shop or something similar in there"

    someone in the audience perked up:

    - - - "ohh, like a starbucks?"

    hushed silence - the mayor shakes his head

    "not while i'm mayor"

    laughter breaks into applause
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    I used to live in my pedtopia... Davis, CA. The system of sidewalks, bike trails and bike lanes were amazing. I could ride/walk from one side of town to another with ever having to cross and intersection (thanks to underpasses and off-street bike paths). The paths were almost always in good condition (to the point I could rollerblade on them without having to worry about faceplanting). I would love to find a place like that to live in again.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by Planderella
    No big boxes or local business-ruining chain stores.
    Is there such a thing as a local business?

    What if the "big box" is headquartered in the community?

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