Tuesday, February 7, 2023
HomeOpinionIn these cities, car-free streets are right here to remain

In these cities, car-free streets are right here to remain

Listed below are 4 car-free streets which are nonetheless going sturdy or simply getting began.

John F. Kennedy Drive, San Francisco

The folks of San Francisco have spoken: Preserve JFK Drive car-free.

Traditionally, JFK Drive (now referred to as JFK Promenade) has been closed to vehicles on Sundays since 1967. When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down many of the metropolis and put a premium on outside house for socially distanced play, it made sense to maintain the road car-free seven days per week.

As anybody who has biked, skated or rolled throughout an open streets occasion can attest, when you go car-free, it’s extraordinarily arduous to return.

Making JFK Drive car-free not solely elevated strolling and biking, it turned the road into an area for artwork, music, celebration and connection.

In April, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors handed a movement holding JFK Drive closed to vehicles, together with 40 enhancements that may make the park extra accessible to disabled folks, seniors and others.

The 1½-mile road in San Francisco’s famed Golden Gate State Park was then the topic of dueling poll measures: Prop J would have stored vehicles out, whereas Prop I’d have reopened the road to motorized autos.

In the long run, voters handed Prop J, with virtually 60% voting “sure” and rejected Prop I, with over 60% voting “no.”

In line with San Francisco Recreation and Parks, visits to the park elevated 36% because the closure, totaling almost 7 million visits.

Griffith Park Drive, Los Angeles

It began with tragedy.

On April 16, 77-year-old Andrew Jelmart was driving his bike by means of Griffith Park when he was struck and killed by a rushing driver.

Whereas the park is a well-liked spot for mountaineering, biking and horse-riding with greater than 50 miles of trails, vehicles typically use it as a shortcut to keep away from adjoining freeways.

Los Angeles has lengthy been identified for its car-centric tradition, however Jelmart’s loss of life sparked a motion to make not less than a part of Griffith Park Drive car-free.

By the tip of June, the park introduced it was quickly shutting a stretch of Griffith Park Drive to vehicles. By Aug. 18, the change was made everlasting.

As mobility advocates and writers have identified, many of the park continues to be open to vehicles — the part of Griffith Park Drive that’s newly car-free is lower than a mile lengthy. Nevertheless, metropolis officers estimate that the closure retains about 2,000 vehicles per day from reducing by means of the park, making it safer for folks strolling and rolling.

thirty fourth Ave., New York Metropolis

Though not shut right down to vehicles 24/7, one of the vital profitable car-free road tasks is thirty fourth Avenue (now referred to as “Paseo Park”) within the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, New York Metropolis.

At present, the road is car-free on daily basis between 7 a.m. and eight p.m., turning 26 metropolis blocks right into a de facto public park. With the newfound house, the neighborhood hosts a myriad of cultural actions, together with yoga, dance, gardening, ESL courses and humanities and crafts for youths.

Began within the early days of the pandemic, the thirty fourth Avenue open road venture was organized as a part of New York Metropolis’s Open Streets initiative. Volunteers from the neighborhood put out visitors limitations each morning and began organizing occasions, actions and video games. This yr, solely 20 miles of ‘Open Streets’ stay within the metropolis, down from a excessive of 83 miles.

Town’s division of transportation says that the venture has decreased visitors violence involving pedestrians by a whopping 41.7%.

Though the venture has sparked controversy in latest months, thirty fourth Avenue is a testomony to neighborhood organizing and the probabilities of a road centered on folks, not vehicles.

Capel Avenue, Dublin

Capel Avenue is a well-liked retail and restaurant district in Dublin that went car-less in Might, making it the longest car-free road within the nation.

Nevertheless it wasn’t with out some pushback.

On the face of it, the road – since named one among Time Out’s coolest streets on this planet – appears good for pedestrianization. Capel is residence to such TikTok-famous eateries as Krewe, Bovinity and a secret Asian road meals restaurant hidden behind a grocery store.

A brand new report out of New York Metropolis has discovered that removed from hurting eating places, car-free streets really elevated enterprise for eating places enrolled within the Open Streets program. They noticed a 19% improve in income over earlier years, or virtually $6 million complete throughout summer season 2021.

Capel Avenue’s car-free journey began step by step, with extra space on the road devoted to outside eating through the pandemic. Then, final yr, Dublin piloted a program shutting down the road to vehicles throughout weekend night hours for 17 weeks.

A public outreach survey discovered that nearly 90% of respondents supported making Capel Avenue traffic-free, saying that it “improved their expertise” of the road. Whereas some companies have been against the thought, Dublin metropolis councilors voted this month to maintain the road closed to motor autos.

Subsequent Metropolis is a nonprofit information group that believes journalists have the facility to amplify options and unfold workable concepts from one metropolis to the following metropolis.

Concerning the Options Journalism Community

This story comes from our companions on the Options Journalism Community, a nonprofit group devoted to rigorous reporting about social points.



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