Gehl on Wheels

The Jan Gehl product roll-out continues apace. Last week, WNYC. This week, New York Magazine. Word has it Gehl’s team will be presenting Department of Transportation brass with some pretty big ideas for street space re-allocation. In the meantime, enjoy another interview with everyone’s favorite Danish urban designer:

Can New York really be tamed?
I don’t have any vision of taming New York, and I don’t think it should
be. I do think there’s an imbalance between the various uses of the
street that can be adjusted.

You still bike daily. Do you bike when you’re here?
Once
it’s reasonably safe, you can ask the senior citizens to bike. I shall
be happy to be the first. My younger colleagues bike a lot here to find
out how it is. It’s a matter of age and daring, and a few other things.

Like being crazy?
That’s your words.

Is London’s congestion-pricing plan working?
Traffic
has dropped there by 18 percent. And when London was given the 2012
Olympics, suddenly everybody was eager to improve the city very fast.
If you can only get an Olympics, everything will be fine.

How can we reduce traffic in midtown?
There’s a number of ways, but congestion pricing may be the easiest and most-proven means of doing it quickly.

So you think it’s necessary?
Did I say that? I didn’t say that.

With all the bike theft here, could a Copenhagen- or Paris-style bike-sharing system work?
I
certainly think so. These bikes would look different and be geared so
that they’d be a little bit awkward to bike long distances on. At first
in Copenhagen people collected them, but after a few years, that was
not so interesting anymore.

What do you think of the new bike lane on Ninth Avenue?
It’s grossly overdone. You can make the whole thing one third the width.

Have you told the city this?
Not yet. I will next week.

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