Monday, May 9, 2011
Video: "Complete Streets"
In my writings, I frequently mention terms such as "walkability", "livability", mode share", "bus rapid transit", bike friendly" and "transit oriented". Some of you may know what they mean and maybe you've heard them before. However, even if you do know what they mean, it is hard to visualize these words. It is difficult to translate these words into an actual physical space.
Another term I constantly mention is "complete street". I define it as a street for all users: cars, bikes, pedestrians, skateboards, children, transit users, transit vehicles, trucks, you know, everyone and everything.
If you've ever had a hard time visualizing a complete street, today is your lucky day! Streetfilms just released a very in depth video on complete streets.
Watch it right here:
My favorite part about this video is the people they interview. They ask pedestrians about the bike lanes, transit users about pedestrian plazas, car drivers about safer sidewalks. The big takeaway from all of this is mutual benefit. If a street is made safer for pedestrians, it is probably made safer for car drivers as well. Sure, you may have to wait at the light for another 5 seconds but you are also more likely to make it home alive! I think that's something we can all get behind.
In regards to this video, one small caveat: This is NYC they are talking about. This is a city where, as they said, over 50% of people do not own cars! Essentially, it's crazy to think that these complete streets policies are only now being implemented.
What about Tucson? Or Albuquerque? Or even Denver? Most people in these cities a) own cars and b) drive everywhere. Can we even compare these cities with the mighty Big Apple?
I would argue that we can. All of these cities have significant numbers of people who do not own cars. Maybe these people get a ride with friends or buy a car not because they want to but because they feel like there is no other choice.
Gas prices are on the rise again and more people are out biking and riding transit. As communities, will we support these people or continue pushing them to the margins?
I think the video speaks for itself.