A Citywide Prescription for Livable Streets

graz.gif
"Streets to Live By" marshals data from several cities to make the case for investing in livable streets in New York.

Today Transportation Alternatives released "Streets to Live By" [PDF], the report previewed last week in the Observer. It seeks to define what makes a street livable and to synthesize a broad range of data, culled from numerous cities, on the effects of policies that put pedestrians first.

This doc is a big one, and we’re still sifting through it. An early impression: The evidence gathered here related to economic development, health, and social wellbeing suggests that a number of city agencies should be shepherded into the livable streets fold. From the report’s recommendations:

Improvements that support livable streets, whether through new construction, street rebuilding or zoning amendments, should be the standard. Coordination and creative problem solving between these agencies, including the Department of City Planning (DCP), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Department of Design and Construction (DDC), Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and Department of Sanitation (DOS) would be best led by the DOT and the Mayor’s Office of Planning and Sustainability.

The report also names the Department of Health and the Department of Small Business Services as agencies that can forge stronger ties to a livable streets agenda, and calls for a livable streets training program aimed at the city’s community boards. "We recognize that the jurisdiction of each agency only goes so far," says T.A.’s Shin-pei Tsay, "and
we hope there can be greater collaboration between them."

  • I like that pie chart. It’s a nice graphical representation of the concept that while drivers are actually in the minority, it seems like they’re everywhere because they take up so much space per person.

  • Howard

    Oh gosh – Graz was one of the most spectacular cities I visited in Europe. It really is an authentic treasure tucked in the middle of nowhere in southern Austria. Beautiful architecture, trams and buses everywhere, happy, healthy people – the livable city dream! Even outside the historic center, buses were frequent and small public “piazzas” common. Excellent train service to Vienna and Venice. Who could ask for more?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Measuring the Value of Livable Streets

|
Ever wonder how much New York stands to gain by making its streets more livable? Transportation Alternatives has been gathering evidence measuring the economic and social benefits that accrue when cities put pedestrians first. Their report is coming out next week, but the Observer published a sneak preview (headline: "The Woonerf Deficit") this Tuesday: The […]

A Livable Streets Renaissance in Savannah?

|
The last time we checked in with the folks down at Sustainable Savannah, it was to get an update on the jaywalking ticket blitz that the city was conducting — not exactly evidence of a progressive attitude toward traffic safety. Today, we’ve got better news. Biking in Savannah: the future is looking brighter. Photo by […]

Livable Streets Projects Getting Hung Up in Budget Bureaucracy?

|
From today’s Crain’s Insider: The city is weighing a new set of street design guidelines that would make installation of pedestrian-friendly elements, like curb extensions, easier. The Department of Transportation has developed a number of new street and traffic plans in Madison Square Park and other places around the city. But each one requires special […]

Naparstek Steps Down as Editor-in-Chief of Streetsblog

|
Aaron Naparstek in his ‘Livable Streets Power Broker’ pose. (Photo: N. Whitaker) This will be difficult news for those of you who are already reeling from Oprah’s retirement, Simon Cowell’s abandonment of "American Idol" and Sewell Chan‘s departure from City Room, but here it is: I am leaving my job as editor-in-chief of Streetsblog. For […]

Dodd’s Livability Bill Earns Praise from Local Governments

|
With financial reform nearly complete, the Senate Banking Committee turned its attention today to one of Senator Chris Dodd’s (D-CT) next priorities, the Livable Communities Act. Local government came out strong for the initiative to promote sustainable and integrated regional planning, with representatives of the nation’s cities, towns, counties, and regional planning organizations testifying in favor. Among committee members, […]