[more inside]We want our tools to sing of not just productivity but of our love of curiosity, the joy of wonderment, and the freshness of the unknown. —Eric Paulos, “Manifesto of Open Disruption and Participation”In his essay “Walking in the City,” the French scholar Michel de Certeau talks about the “invisible identities of the visible.” He is talking specifically about the memories and personal narratives associated with a location. Until recently, this information was only accessible one-to-one—that is, by talking to people who had knowledge of a place. But what if that data became one-to-many, or even many-to-many, and easily accessible via some sort of street-level interface that could be accessed manually, or wirelessly using a smartphone?
"If you need a sign to tell people to slow down, you designed your street wrong." Going from "Forgiving Highways" to "Self-Explaining Roads": A longitudinal look at the Dutch and American responses to motor vehicle traffic safety. [more inside]
In the history of roads, pedestrians have long been the dominant user class. In the early 20th century, the use of automobiles was increasing, and with it, the conflicts between cars and people on foot. This conflict came to a head in 1923 in Cincinnati, when people were outraged about the number of children killed by autos, and a there was a petition that "would have required all vehicles in the city to be fitted with speed governors limiting them to 25 miles per hour." In response, the young automotive companies organized and started a move to give dominance to cars in the streets. The petition failed, and pedestrians had lost. This was a key moment, marked with the invention of jaywalking. [more inside]
You know how it feels when you're trying to cross the street and a driver comes through the intersection as if you’re not even there? Like he’s muscling through with that big box of metal as if to say, “Hey, get out of my way, you little flesh-and-blood weakling!”
Wouldn’t you just love to have a superhero sweep down, stand up to the jerk behind the wheel, and block the car so you could cross safely?
Enter Peatónito, the masked Mexican defender of pedestrians!
Tom Vanderbilt on walking in America, in four parts: The Crisis in American Walking, Sidewalk Science, What's Your Walk Score?, and Learning to Walk. (Previously on jaywalking and on cities for people.)
Having confronted the problem of how to walk past someone without running into them, it's time MetaFilter dealt with another pressing social issue: How to deal with slow walkers (SLYT).
What do you mean the building codes require us to install handicapped-accessible crosswalk? Fine. Here's your fucking crosswalk. [more inside]
Danish architect Jan Gehl on making cities safe for people, the art and science of designing good cities for walking, and how to plan good cities for bicycling.
Dangerous by Design: an interactive map of pedestrian fatalities in the United States "From 2000 to 2009, 47,700 pedestrians were killed in the United States, the equivalent of a jumbo jet full of passengers crashing roughly every month." How the U.S. Builds Roads that Kill Pedestrians
Tourist Lanes & New Yorker Lanes One afternoon, field agents of Improv Everywhere "...created separate walking lanes for tourists and New Yorkers on a Fifth Avenue sidewalk. Department of Transportation 'employees' were on hand to enforce the new rules and ask pedestrians for their feedback on the initiative."
Charges dropped against the former Attorney General of Ontario despite video evidence showing Bryant first striking the bicyclist with his car and then attempting to get away. Previously [more inside]
On Sunday New York City closed two of the busiest sections of perhaps the most famous street in the U.S. to traffic and created pedestrian plazas in the "Crossroads of the World" (and also in Herald Square) [brief plan / NYCDOT detailed plan]. [more inside]
A history of pedestrian crossings. Complete with exciting Flash simulations! More exciting histories here.
When you drive on local streets you can be a Wingman for Grandma. Help make Grandma safer when she goes out for a walk. Drive the speed limit on local streets. Help set the pace for your community. Small increases in vehicle speed increase the threat to pedestrians. By helping to calm your local streets you can make it safer and more pleasant for you and your family.
Calm down. A new, humorous, attempt at "traffic calming". I know, I know, a lot of it was previously discussed. Some think it's a good idea (hey, we've even got some in my neighborhood!). But there are others who disagree. I never thought it would be such a heated topic! (or noteworthy by Wired, even.) Aaaah... the hell with it. Maybe the way to go is NO RULES.
Seamless City is a project made possible by proliferation of gigabytes of affordable disk space, digital cameras, photo composition applications, and a lot of time. Take a 30 mile pedestrian tour of San Francisco.
Bikes and cars don't mix. At least, according to the author of this column. As someone who cycles for fun and commuting, I was alternately amused by his anti-bike spewing and terrified that he's a case of road rage waiting to happen. Remind me never to bike in Pittsburgh.
Pedestrian Killer Pointless bloody fun. Zoom around a patch of roadway, squishing people as they try to make it across.