4.10.2008

EIGHT KINDS OF STREETS

No sooner had I warned of an auto-centric world than I was directed to this delightful article in the Times about the eight kinds of streets New York City is trying to implement to improve circulation and elevate the pedestrian. I loved this quote by a local urban design academic: “It is absolutely critical that the people on foot are at the top of the hierarchy. The alpha mode is the shoe.”

I also liked his sentiment about serendipity in the city: “Cities are generators of accidents. And to the degree that they are happy accidents, that’s the indicator of a good city." When you're whizzing by in a car, the only accident you can have is a bad one, involving damage to your fender or even bodily harm. But at the foot level, an urban "accident" can mean chancing upon a jam session, a long-lost friend, or a beautiful tree. So if it takes eight kinds of streets to make less of the first kind of accident and more of the second kinds, so be it.
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