What a good idea: saving our streets for people, not cars
The Age just wrote a column about saving our streets for people and not cars. On topic with the 'Our Streets are not Garages' campaign. What a good idea: saving our streets for people, not cars Limiting street parking would make such a difference to communal life and increase our sense of space so dramatically that it should be applied everywhere.
Read the article below or follow the links.
Over half of Melburnians feel overcrowded on city footpaths and 40 per cent of cyclists find the city “unsafe and intimidating”, according to research by the City of Melbourne. That crowded feeling could get worse, with Melbourne’s population predicted to double by 2066.
Under Melbourne City Council's draft transport strategy, the city's “little” streets (like Little Collins, Little Bourke and Flinders Lane) could be converted into shared zones where pedestrians would be prioritised over cars, if not closed to cars at certain times of the day. More road space could be converted to designated bike lanes and drivers would be encouraged to stay out of the city, perhaps with a congestion charge (in case the terrible traffic and high parking prices weren’t incentive enough).
It also has an idea that could be used more widely throughout Melbourne: eliminating street parking to make more room for pedestrians. Limiting street parking would make such a difference to communal life and increase our sense of space so dramatically that it should be applied everywhere.
One thing you notice in cities where there's little street parking is that the landscape looks human-friendly. Paris has been steadily eliminating street parking since 2003 to protect the postcard-picture spaciousness of its boulevards. In Zurich, the number of parking spaces was capped in 1976, and for each parking space that’s created underground, another street parking spot is replaced with friendly footpaths, bike lanes and trees.
Even in a populous and hectic city like Tokyo you can still feel a sense of spaciousness (albeit not all the time) thanks to the fact that street parking isn’t common practice. When you buy a car in Tokyo you need to prove that you have a place to park it – the street outside your house doesn’t count. Street parking is the exception, not the rule, so you can’t park unless a sign explicitly allows it. There’s calm within the chaos of the crowds because there’s room to walk, empty side streets to venture down and no cars blocking your line of sight.
Cars provide a means of getting around cities, but too much space is dedicated to idly storing them. While a driver might be happy to find a convenient place to park, nobody else is served by street parking. Both inner-city and suburban landscapes get clogged up physically and visually. We feel overcrowded and intimidated when we needn’t. Instead, let’s save the streets for people.