Saturday, February 4, 2012

Peddy Friday

A 'pedestrian lifestyle' is romantic. Wouldn't you agree?  Here is Copenhagen's 10 points for making their world more 'pedestrian'.

1. Convert streets into pedestrian thoroughfares.
The city turned its traditional main street, Strøget, into a pedestrian thoroughfare in 1962. In succeeding decades they gradually added more pedestrian-only streets, linking them to pedestrian-priority streets, where walkers and cyclists have right-of-way but cars are allowed at low speeds. (See this River Walk in Texas or this incredible place in Toronto - The Distillery District.)

2. Reduce traffic and parking gradually.
To keep traffic volume stable, the city reduced the number of cars in the city center by eliminating parking spaces at a rate of 2-3 percent per year. Between 1986 and 1996 the city eliminated about 600 spaces.

3. Turn parking lots into public squares.
The act of creating pedestrian streets freed up parking lots, enabling the city to transform them into public squares. (Sparks Street Mall Ottawa, Canada)

4. Keep scale dense and low.
Low-slung, densely spaced buildings allow breezes to pass over them, making the city center milder and less windy than the rest of Copenhagen.

5. Honor the human scale.
The city's modest scale and street grid make walking a pleasant experience; its historic buildings, with their stoops, awnings, and doorways, provide people with impromptu places to stand and sit.

6. Populate the core.
More than 6,800 residents now live in the city center. They've eliminated their dependence on cars, and at night their lighted windows give visiting pedestrians a feeling of safety.

7. Encourage student living.
Students who commute to school on bicycles don't add to traffic congestion; on the contrary, their active presence, day and night, animates the city.

8. Adapt the cityscape to changing seasons.
Outdoor cafés, public squares, and street performers attract thousands in the summer; skating rinks, heated benches, and gaslit heaters on street corners make winters in the city center enjoyable.

9. Promote cycling as a major mode of transportation.
The city established new bike lanes and extended existing ones. They placed bike crossings--using space freed up by the elimination of parking--near intersections. Currently 34 percent of Copenhageners who work in the city bicycle to their jobs.

10. Make bicycles available.
People can borrow city bikes for about $2.50; when finished, they simply leave them at any one of the 110 bike stands located around the city center and their money is refunded.

"Peddy Friday" is a new series of posts about a 'Pedestrian Lifestyle' by Patti Friday.

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