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(Streetsblog)   Hipsters proclaim "tactical urbanism" new DIY movement, bypass foot-dragging mayors, traffic engineers, and planning process to make neighborhood roads more livable by removing car lanes, adding pop-up cafes, bike lanes, and street signs   (dc.streetsblog.org) divider line 97
    More: Weird, bike lanes, urbanism, traffic cone, cultural change, New York's Times Square, community meetings, QR codes, mayors  
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4964 clicks; posted to Geek » on 14 Oct 2012 at 9:06 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-14 02:41:54 AM
I foresee increased penalties for civil infractions in the near future.
 
2012-10-14 03:14:49 AM
3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-10-14 03:24:24 AM
This is stupid...it's fun and well if you're fit and healthy and bike. But people with injuries, cancer patients, older, people with medical problems are effectively shut out. To suggest it's a 16 min walk to "XX" place on your DIY sign is outstandingly selfish and shortsighted. (which they'll probably find out if and when they either carrying a child in the 8th month, or get married).
 
2012-10-14 03:33:56 AM

optikeye: This is stupid...it's fun and well if you're fit and healthy and bike. But people with injuries, cancer patients, older, people with medical problems are effectively shut out. To suggest it's a 16 min walk to "XX" place on your DIY sign is outstandingly selfish and shortsighted. (which they'll probably find out if and when they either carrying a child in the 8th month, or get married).


I sorta get what you are saying, but that's a flat-out abuse of the word "outlandish."
 
2012-10-14 08:39:05 AM

optikeye: This is stupid...it's fun and well if you're fit and healthy and bike. But people with injuries, cancer patients, older, people with medical problems are effectively shut out. To suggest it's a 16 min walk to "XX" place on your DIY sign is outstandingly selfish and shortsighted. (which they'll probably find out if and when they either carrying a child in the 8th month, or get married).


That's bullshiat, optik. NOTHING is easy for cancer patients. BREATHING is hard. It's terrible, but you can't live your life like a lump because some people aren't healthy.

As a driver, I hate these people in principle, but honestly I hate red tape more than pedestrians. America was founded by people who told their government to go suck a dick and just did what they liked. So I'm all for any group of Americans telling their government to fark off for good reasons. Improving the city life is a great start.
 
2012-10-14 08:41:18 AM
dtdstudios.com
 
2012-10-14 09:19:42 AM
The steampunk enthusiast inside of me cries for the death of industrial wasteland but the hipster-stereotype in me is joyously wrapping myself in scarfs and telling everyone that one day I'll move to Brooklyn or Portland.
 
2012-10-14 09:30:37 AM
The Dallas example was actually in either Grapevine or Fort Worth, IIRC. And I'm betting the article is neglecting to point out that these few examples are the severe minority, and that most actions like this are resulting in huge fines and jail time for the perpetrators.
 
2012-10-14 09:31:20 AM

optikeye: This is stupid...


... because none of the stuff in TFA precludes cars from going about their business?
 
2012-10-14 09:36:17 AM
people like this deserve to have a bypass put in through their house
 
2012-10-14 09:37:54 AM

vartian: optikeye: This is stupid...it's fun and well if you're fit and healthy and bike. But people with injuries, cancer patients, older, people with medical problems are effectively shut out. To suggest it's a 16 min walk to "XX" place on your DIY sign is outstandingly selfish and shortsighted. (which they'll probably find out if and when they either carrying a child in the 8th month, or get married).

I sorta get what you are saying, but that's a flat-out abuse of the word "outstanding."

 
2012-10-14 09:42:16 AM
Tanya became Streetsblog's Capitol Hill editor in September 2010 after several years as a Congressional radio reporter. She lives car-free in a transit-oriented and bike-friendly neighborhood of Washington, DC with her partner, Mike, and their daughter, Luna.

Smug level is off the charts sir. Wwe're one adjective phrase from total douche-nozzle explosion in the above blogger bio.
 
2012-10-14 09:45:14 AM
I think this is great. Optik's odd request that we all live by the health guidelines of cancer patients not withstanding, I don't get what the problem is if a group tries to improve their 'hood a little.
 
2012-10-14 09:46:33 AM
Cars are guests on city streets. They should not be given priority over other uses of roadways. I think more cities should close select streets to vehicle traffic entirely. There are some wonderful pedestrian malls in the Denver area that I'd love to see in other cities.
 
2012-10-14 09:47:55 AM

grchunt: I don't get what the problem is if a group tries to improve their 'hood a little.


You don't understand, these people tried to improve their neighborhood by prioritizing pedestrians, bike traffic, and community use while deprioritizing cars. It's downright unamerican! We are a car culture. Anything that denies the preeminence of the automobile is hipstery and wrong, and possibly socialist.
 
2012-10-14 09:54:07 AM

optikeye: To suggest it's a 16 min walk to "XX" place on your DIY sign is outstandingly selfish and shortsighted.


How so? I am a fast walker. If I were as sensitive as you then I'd be insulted that someone suggested that it would take me that long to walk that distance. I see signs all the time telling me that my arm pits smell, my breath is bad, I look like hell and I feel so bad. Is it 'outlandishly selfish and shortsighted' of advertisers to tell me those things? A sign saying it take 16 minutes to walk somewhere in no way impacts people with medical issues from using a mode of transportation more suited to their condition.
 
2012-10-14 09:54:53 AM

t3knomanser: You don't understand, these people tried to improve their neighborhood by prioritizing pedestrians, bike traffic, and community use while deprioritizing cars. It's downright unamerican! We are a car culture. Anything that denies the preeminence of the automobile is hipstery and wrong, and possibly socialist.


I get where you're coming from, but at the same time, I don't think it wise that any Jim-Bob with a can of paint just up and redirect traffic flow to his liking.
He may hav stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, but he's still not a civil engineer.
 
2012-10-14 09:56:15 AM
Ignoring the law and "just doing" what you think is right is awesome and uplifting... until someone does exactly the same thing but makes a change that you don't like.
 
2012-10-14 09:57:22 AM

ReverendJasen: t3knomanser: You don't understand, these people tried to improve their neighborhood by prioritizing pedestrians, bike traffic, and community use while deprioritizing cars. It's downright unamerican! We are a car culture. Anything that denies the preeminence of the automobile is hipstery and wrong, and possibly socialist.

I get where you're coming from, but at the same time, I don't think it wise that any Jim-Bob with a can of paint just up and redirect traffic flow to his liking.
He may hav stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, but he's still not a civil engineer.


I get where you're coming from, but city councils have a habit of ignoring civil engineers anyway.
 
2012-10-14 10:03:34 AM

ReverendJasen: , I don't think it wise that any Jim-Bob with a can of paint just up and redirect traffic flow to his liking.


Well, any Jim-Bob with a can of paint can do that. The line between "community organizing" and "vandalism" in that case is a fine line indeed.

We actually just had an incident much like this in Pittsburgh. A local neighborhood wanted cross-walks. The city said, "Well, you'll get some... when we get around to it." Frustrated, the locals went out and painted their own. They're not wide enough for the law, but they have successfully made the streets slightly safer to cross, and they've gotten the city more interested in providing legal crosswalks. Despite that, there's a fight ongoing over whether or not they're going to stay.

lewismarktwo: I get where you're coming from, but city councils have a habit of ignoring civil engineers anyway.


And there's also this. A lot of cities still believe in the cult of the car, and want to give their streets over to through traffic. The sad reality is that through-traffic just passes through- you suck the life out of your cities by building arterials and optimizing traffic flow for throughput. It requires a careful balancing act, and when a city ignores its citizens, what are they supposed to do? Going to council meetings only gets you so far- and the more you go, the less effective it gets. I've seen it happen all the time in local politics- after a few meetings harping on the same issue, you become "that guy"- the guy who just wants to do that one thing. The council just tunes you out because you've become a repetitive stimulus.
 
2012-10-14 10:12:38 AM

t3knomanser: Cars are guests on city streets. They should not be given priority over other uses of roadways. I think more cities should close select streets to vehicle traffic entirely. There are some wonderful pedestrian malls in the Denver area that I'd love to see in other cities.


Um...I can think of several cities that banned cars from part of their once busy downtown "main" street and ended up with an area that is a ghost town after 5pm & weekends. All good stores closed and all that's left is dollar stores & drug dealers.

America is not Europe.
 
2012-10-14 10:18:56 AM

t3knomanser: Cars are guests on city streets. They should not be given priority over other uses of roadways. I think more cities should close select streets to vehicle traffic entirely. There are some wonderful pedestrian malls in the Denver area that I'd love to see in other cities.


My town is doing a good job selling itself as "the quaint little artsie town". They'll shut down streets all the time, whether for a parade or an art show or to allow vendors to set up in the street for a street party.

Just don't get in between me and the brewery (I can walk there, of course), and we're all good, hipsters.

Anyways, I really like it. I also liked the large number of pedestrian steets in Europe; clearly has a positive impact, rather than the nightmare scenario envisioned by most people here.

/Walking!
 
2012-10-14 10:20:54 AM

KawaiiNot: .I can think of several cities that banned cars from part of their once busy downtown "main" street and ended up with an area that is a ghost town after 5pm & weekends.


I can think of many more that put in an arterial that passed through their downtown area, and just sucked life out of it.

I'm not saying that there are any one size fits all solutions. But restricting traffic can improve cities.

Pittsburgh made their Market Square less car friendly, and suddenly downtown has night-life. Stuff stays open, people hang out, go on bar crawls, there's live music and a real sense of community. Denver and Boulder have added several miles of pedestrian malls, with dedicated busses to shuttle people from point to point along the mall, and they're bustling little communities of shops.

There are a lot of things that go into making a strategy like this work- you can't just block of a street and hope for the best. It takes serious city planning, and serious conversations about what makes a city liveable. Just as a counter-point for Pittsburgh- despite all the improvements in making it inviting, and despite all the new apartments and condos, there isn't a single grocery store in the downtown core. Without making sure your city attracts key services, it isn't going to be a liveable city.
 
2012-10-14 10:22:24 AM

KawaiiNot: I can think of several cities that banned cars from part of their once busy downtown "main" street and ended up with an area that is a ghost town after 5pm & weekends. All good stores closed and all that's left is dollar stores & drug dealers.


That's because straight up bans never work.

What you wanna do is copy Tokyo. In Shinjuku, busiest train station in the world, or damn near, you've got millions of people walkin' through each day. Literally millions. You've also got 100,000s driving. You can't cut off car traffic everywhere. What they DO do is close the busy pedestrian areas after a certain time and all day on Sundays. You wanna drive through the bar district on Friday night? Too bad. If you're lucky you'll only get a verbal warning. Same street 7 am? Autobot, roll out.
 
2012-10-14 10:25:49 AM

doglover: What they DO do is close the busy pedestrian areas after a certain time and all day on Sundays.


You can also make the roadways less car friendly- Pittsburgh's Market Square slows cars down, forces them to travel in a one-way loop, and fills the streets with pedestrians. You can navigate the area (and there's parking along the square), but it's terrible if you want a through-street.

Making sure people can get around your city is vitally important. But there are a lot of reasons why we might want to discourage them from using cars to do so. Bans, changing traffic patterns, and providing alternatives are all part of a solution.
 
2012-10-14 10:29:10 AM
Chestnut St in Philly was going to be a pedestrian walkway on the weekends. Instead it turned into a wasteland of hi-fi electronics ripoff stores and discount shoddy shop-a-marts.
 
2012-10-14 10:29:38 AM
A lot of people are getting where a lot of other people are coming from in this thread.
 
2012-10-14 10:30:12 AM
So in other words:

Decentralized, dispersed, "power-to-the-people" libertarian/conservative style decision making works better than authoritarian, central-planning, "power-to-the-politicians" liberal/progressive style decision making?

Huh. Who knew?
 
2012-10-14 10:32:58 AM

t3knomanser: Making sure people can get around your city is vitally important. But there are a lot of reasons why we might want to discourage them from using cars to do so.


Pittsburgh is unique in that our roads are so confusing no one WANTS to drive anywhere but the parkway. Seriously, other than Squirrel Hill, it's insane.
 
2012-10-14 10:37:55 AM
Didn't Kramer already do this on an episode of Seinfeld?
 
2012-10-14 10:40:32 AM

doglover: Pittsburgh is unique in that our roads are so confusing no one WANTS to drive anywhere but the parkway.


Now, I admit, I'm not behind the wheel a lot in Pittsburgh (I am going for my license- I should have it before I turn 33, which means it only took me twice as long as average ;)), but I don't think there's anything particularly difficult about Pittsburgh streets. Squirrel Hill is actually one of the weirder sections to drive through- Murray Ave is a nightmare.

I live over in Shadyside, and if I'm going anywhere other than Downtown (by bus), it's Lawrenceville or Oakland.
 
2012-10-14 10:44:30 AM

t3knomanser: doglover: Pittsburgh is unique in that our roads are so confusing no one WANTS to drive anywhere but the parkway.

Now, I admit, I'm not behind the wheel a lot in Pittsburgh (I am going for my license- I should have it before I turn 33, which means it only took me twice as long as average ;)), but I don't think there's anything particularly difficult about Pittsburgh streets. Squirrel Hill is actually one of the weirder sections to drive through- Murray Ave is a nightmare.

I live over in Shadyside, and if I'm going anywhere other than Downtown (by bus), it's Lawrenceville or Oakland.


Squirrel hill is weird, but I used to dread navigating anywhere else. It's not that Pittsburgh is hard, but compared to Monroville or something it's all different flavors of farked.

Now LA? Nuke it from orbit, start over by naming each street after something with different letters in. There's supposedly half a dozen major streets with the same name and more traffic light varieties than MnM colors.
 
2012-10-14 10:45:42 AM

doglover: Now LA? Nuke it from orbit


I'd rather drive in Manhattan than anywhere near LA. Just seeing pictures of LA makes me shudder.
 
2012-10-14 10:51:58 AM

t3knomanser: grchunt: I don't get what the problem is if a group tries to improve their 'hood a little.

You don't understand, these people tried to improve their neighborhood by prioritizing pedestrians, bike traffic, and community use while deprioritizing cars. It's downright unamerican! We are a car culture. Anything that denies the preeminence of the automobile is hipstery and wrong, and possibly socialist.


Sadly, many Americans actually think like this.

/ glad I live in a State that thinks a little differently
// even my small town has bike lanes
 
2012-10-14 10:57:11 AM
If it weren't for bicycles and the Good Roads movement a century or so ago, America might not have developed it's car culture. We'd still be getting around on mass-transit rail. If that seems unthinkable, then explain why we don't all have flying cars yet.
 
2012-10-14 10:58:24 AM

tomWright: So in other words:

Decentralized, dispersed, "power-to-the-people" libertarian/conservative style decision making works better than authoritarian, central-planning, "power-to-the-politicians" liberal/progressive style decision making?

Huh. Who knew?

 

The Green Part (which I think is a good idea of what people mean when they say "progressives") is founded on four pillars, including grassroots democracy -

Grassroots democracy or participatory democracy is embraced by Greens as the only reliable governance model for achieving social change. Many Green parties have rejected or constrained the traditional role of leaders as "party boss", in favor of having figurehead leaders or spokespeople. Many Green party constitutions are configured to prevent the party bureaucracy from accumulating too much power in the organization, in favor of more decentralized or member driven processes.

So why exactly were you trying to pit "progressive" as some antithesis to your idealized Ron Paul fantasy?
 
2012-10-14 11:01:26 AM

optikeye: This is stupid...it's fun and well if you're fit and healthy and bike. But people with injuries, cancer patients, older, people with medical problems are effectively shut out. To suggest it's a 16 min walk to "XX" place on your DIY sign is outstandingly selfish and shortsighted. (which they'll probably find out if and when they either carrying a child in the 8th month, or get married).


In countires that are "bike heavy" in europe (i.e. netherlands, denmark, etc.) about 1/3 of new bike sales are "electric-assist" models. While these bikes tend to be more expensive ($2.5k+) they are a great solutions for those not able to bike effectively on their own or desire to arrive at their destination without being covered in sweat.. In the US it's generally legal (some places like new york have banned them) to have an electric bike that can go up to 20 mph without any work on the rider's part. obviously trikes/other types of bikes are also legal (for those unable to balance on a bike)l. If riding bikes becomes more attractive, electric bikes will take off in the US as well.
 
2012-10-14 11:16:42 AM

Forbidden Doughnut: Sadly, many Americans actually think like this.

/ glad I live in a State that thinks a little differently
// even my small town has bike lanes


For how conservative and whitebread my little suburb gets, this is one area where they've actually been rather progressive. Damn near every street has a bike lane, and they just recently renovated a section of the main street to where car traffic is limited to one lane each way at 10 MPH. It's put a lot of life into the businesses on that main street, and even attracted some great new ones.
 
2012-10-14 11:17:24 AM
I liked city planning before it was mainstream.
 
2012-10-14 11:17:53 AM

Dear Jerk: If that seems unthinkable, then explain why we don't all have flying cars yet.


Physics. Heavier-than-air flight is exceedingly energy intensive, and tends to work better when you scale it up to large vehicles.

Forbidden Doughnut: Sadly, many Americans actually think like this.


It's amazing to me the response some people have to the addition of bike lanes. I'm glad that my city is actually very apologetic about some streets not being bike friendly. "Hey, look- could you guys just stay off of Penn Ave? I know it's not fair, and you've got every right to use that road, but people are getting killed. There are plenty of side routes that you can use while we figure out how to make Penn Ave safer."

Penn, by the way, is one of those arterials. There are huge sections of it that are basically dead-zones to anything but cars.
 
2012-10-14 11:21:51 AM

sidgoop: Didn't Kramer already do this on an episode of Seinfeld?


I am disappoint there were no pictures
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-10-14 11:23:48 AM
When I was in college some students painted a crosswalk. That crosswalk is now permanent. It's at a legitimate place for a crosswalk, with a lot of pedestrian demand on a not especially busy street.

At the other extreme, some guy out in central Massachusetts (Holland, or near) decided there should be a crosswalk at a curve on his rural road. He made one. He just couldn't understand that there was anything wrong with luring pedestrians into high speed traffic where visibility is poor. Police had to get involved to stop him.
 
2012-10-14 11:26:16 AM

optikeye: This is stupid...it's fun and well if you're fit and healthy and bike. But people with injuries, cancer patients, older, people with medical problems are effectively shut out. To suggest it's a 16 min walk to "XX" place on your DIY sign is outstandingly selfish and shortsighted. (which they'll probably find out if and when they either carrying a child in the 8th month, or get married).


Meh... Wait until some blind person hears about these signs and sues because they aren't in braille.

Saberus Terras: The Dallas example was actually in either Grapevine or Fort Worth, IIRC. And I'm betting the article is neglecting to point out that these few examples are the severe minority, and that most actions like this are resulting in huge fines and jail time for the perpetrators.


I notice they don't exactly say WHERE this is in the DFW metroplex. Of course, being DFW I'd have to drive over. Remember that we have an airport larger than Manhattan sitting in the middle of everything.
 
2012-10-14 11:31:09 AM

t3knomanser: Dear Jerk: If that seems unthinkable, then explain why we don't all have flying cars yet.

Physics. Heavier-than-air flight is exceedingly energy intensive, and tends to work better when you scale it up to large vehicles.

Forbidden Doughnut: Sadly, many Americans actually think like this.

It's amazing to me the response some people have to the addition of bike lanes. I'm glad that my city is actually very apologetic about some streets not being bike friendly. "Hey, look- could you guys just stay off of Penn Ave? I know it's not fair, and you've got every right to use that road, but people are getting killed. There are plenty of side routes that you can use while we figure out how to make Penn Ave safer."

Penn, by the way, is one of those arterials. There are huge sections of it that are basically dead-zones to anything but cars.


God people drive horribly on Penn Ave. Technically you can park on it, but if you do be prepared for someone to run into your car. I used to live on Penn avenue in point breeze (between east liberty and Wilkinsburg) and I witnessed two cars plowed into that were stopped on the road. In one instance a honda element ran into the back of a tow truck that was stopped helping a disabled vehicle. Quite impressive to see it impaled on the back of the tow truck's wheel lift (luckily the two dudes in it weren't badly hurt/the tow truck driver didn't get hit either). I always joked that I should park my POS car out there one night (it would have been completely legal) to get it totaled/actually get some money for it towards getting something new.
 
2012-10-14 11:33:40 AM
I'm gonna go into town and paint lanes on the sidewalk.
 
2012-10-14 11:37:22 AM

Horseraddish: tomWright: So in other words:

Decentralized, dispersed, "power-to-the-people" libertarian/conservative style decision making works better than authoritarian, central-planning, "power-to-the-politicians" liberal/progressive style decision making?

Huh. Who knew? 

The Green Part (which I think is a good idea of what people mean when they say "progressives") is founded on four pillars, including grassroots democracy -

Grassroots democracy or participatory democracy is embraced by Greens as the only reliable governance model for achieving social change. Many Green parties have rejected or constrained the traditional role of leaders as "party boss", in favor of having figurehead leaders or spokespeople. Many Green party constitutions are configured to prevent the party bureaucracy from accumulating too much power in the organization, in favor of more decentralized or member driven processes.

So why exactly were you trying to pit "progressive" as some antithesis to your idealized Ron Paul fantasy?


No, Green as a whole is not really Progressive, though parts of it are Progressive. There is a whole area of individualist back-to-the-land environmentalism.

"Progressive" historically has been an authoritarian approach to attempt improving humanity. Note such Progressive movements as Prohibition and Eugenics. "Green" does have some Progressive proponents, typically those that want to use authoritarian laws and regulations to control the lives and businesses of everyone for every moment in life, and require central authority to approve every change or innovation. Kind of like trying to build or live with a nightmare version of a home-owners association.

The more libertarian/conservative* approach is to limit laws and regulation to those things known to cause harm, other wise letting folks build and innovate as they wish, and require someone that does harm or damage to bear the cost of that harm and damage. More like living in an unincorporated area where you build what you want so long as you do not harm your neighbor.

It's the difference between Cannon Law (prohibitive) and the Wiccan Rede (permissive) 


*As opposed to Right Wing Republicans, who are really Moral Socialists who want the state to own and control all morality
 
2012-10-14 11:47:03 AM
It's not your sidewalk.
It's not your street.
You don't get to decide how many traffic lanes their are, the direction they go, or if there is a bike lane.
 
2012-10-14 12:07:51 PM

Muta: optikeye: To suggest it's a 16 min walk to "XX" place on your DIY sign is outstandingly selfish and shortsighted.

How so? I am a fast walker. If I were as sensitive as you then I'd be insulted that someone suggested that it would take me that long to walk that distance. I see signs all the time telling me that my arm pits smell, my breath is bad, I look like hell and I feel so bad. Is it 'outlandishly selfish and shortsighted' of advertisers to tell me those things? A sign saying it take 16 minutes to walk somewhere in no way impacts people with medical issues from using a mode of transportation more suited to their condition.


I think a last that's right months pregnant pretty much understands her walking limitations. Can't see why they would be insulted by the sign. I just assume when I see signs like that that it's 16 minutes at regular walking pace. If I'm going slower our faster, then I decide accordingly if the walk is worth doing and move on with my life.
 
2012-10-14 12:07:53 PM
Wow, so we've gone full anarchy, eh? I know that they have this strange love for artistic vandalism, already, but jesus, didn't think they'd just Galt's Gulch.. I mean, they profess hate for Ayn Rand
 
2012-10-14 12:08:47 PM
 
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