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closing main roads for pedestrians

Grassroots

Cyburbian
Messages
90
Points
4
in the capital city of ukraine, kiev, they close the main street (about 5km long) off on the weekends to automobile traffic. kiev is a huge capital city with a large pedestrian population. many businesses protested at first, but then after noticing how walkers came out in droves on the weekends; it only boosted business. people walked along the wide main streets, eat at outdoor cafes, strollers abound, and the people love it. it has become so popular that they are starting to close other popular streets that have been known to attract tourists. i think this is a great idea. anybody doing this in the states as part of their development policy? i would think it would work best in bigger cities with a larger pedestrian load (i.e. NYC, san fran, etc...) or do you all think we are to much of a "busy" society to do this...even on weekends?
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
Local bike groups have succeeded in closing West River Drive in Philadelphia, PA to cars on weekends during the warmer months. The 5 mi stretch of road is used for recreation such as biking, jogging, etc.
 
Messages
5,353
Points
31
Both Bourbon Street and Royal Street in the French Quarter in New Orleans are closed to vehicular traffic during the weekends. Personally, I would like to see vehicular traffic prohibited altogether in the French Quarter given the delicate state of the structures and the street. The City Council adopted an ordinance about 5 yrs ago that prohibited large tour busses from the area but it took them years to get to that point.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
I grew up with the Fussganger Zone concept in Germany. It's the way to live. We in America are missing out because we build our shopping centers outside in.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
It is fairly common in warmer months to close off streets throughout Canada and the US for things like farmers markets or different fairs... St. Albert closes down St. Anne, Davis used to close down one street in downtown for a farmer's market on Wednesdays and then close down a different street on the weekend... I can't think of any off the top of my head that just close down all weekend... but then I haven't lived in very dense areas where it would be successful.
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
I realise you were asking about the US experience grassroots, but if you want to read more about street closures, the book 'New City Spaces' by Jan Gehl and Lars Gemzoe has lots of info about creating pedestrian-only areas in European city centres. It follows the success of a number of cities as they expand the amount of ped-only streets. And it has lots of nice pictures!
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Good point, JNL. I have not been there, but I understand it is very common in some villages in southern France to have sections of the old city that are off limits to motorized vehicles.
 

Grassroots

Cyburbian
Messages
90
Points
4
hey el guapo.

could you explain "fussganger zone concept"? i am assuming you mean open markets and "bazaar" atmospheres (inside out)? bazaars were the first real stange concept to me coming here. i joke with the other planning volunteers here about "going back to 1945" when i go buy my groceries, but after talking with the people here...it really is a social experience to go there for them. you can meet your vegetable lady, talk about the week, how crappy work is going, etc. is this sort of what you are refering to? if it is, i agree...it is a lot more personable. i just wonder if americans are into getting that close to one another. it seems they like the "get in/getout" or the "fire and forget" approach. not only that, you get great excercise. lost 50 pounds and quit smoking in a month and a half being here. all because of not having to rely on my car and walking.
 

green22

Cyburbian
Messages
101
Points
6
Ped zones

Lower Manhattan had some peddestrian streets in lower Manhattan, and now more since 911. The curvey thin streets were not designed well for cars, and there are alot of people there during work areas. 165th street in Jamaica Queens is a busy ped mall until 7 PM at night.
 

Injunplanna

Member
Messages
5
Points
0
Berkeley's at it too

last summer berkeley tried it too. They restricted vehicles to the downtown section over a weekend as an experiment. but hey, its berkeley...they're all doing crazy things out there.

Another example is main street Buffalo. It has an LRT runing thru the center of the street in downtown. No vehicle allowed. the ambience is terrific, however, the sad part is Buffalo doesn't has the population to fill up the main street.....so retail and restaurants are barely surviving....
 

benk928

Cyburbian
Messages
31
Points
2
well...

Here in Williamsburg, VA, the College of William and Mary forms a V-shape along two of the main roads...where they converge is the western end of the mile-long Duke of Gloucester St...which runs past Merchant's Square (I guess Williamsburg's "downtown") and down to the colonial Capitol Building, through Colonial Williamsburg's exhibits and taverns and whatnot. During the summertime, it's really popular and crowded..but during the week it's a favorite place to go jogging and whatnot. FDR once proclaimed it "The Most Historic Avenue in all America." Which is why we rule.

-Ben
 
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