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Paris to Return Its Great Public Squares to the People

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Paris’s Place de la République, before and after a 2012 redesign. Before photo: Google Street View; after photo: Clem/Flickr

If you look at paintings from the pre-automotive era, Paris’s monumental public squares were full of people strolling comfortably. But over time, car traffic has consumed most of these squares.

Now, under Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Paris is setting out to remake the city’s squares as great public gathering places.

The city is currently in the midst of an initiative to turn seven plazas and squares into pedestrian-friendly spaces, including the Place de la Bastille, Place de la Madeleine, and Place du Pantheon. Each will be redesigned with the goal of dedicating at least 50 percent of the land area to walking, biking, and public space. And for each project, the city will test out several different configurations, with public feedback and a rigorous analysis of how people use the space determining which version sticks.

The New York-based firm Placemeter is observing how people use the squares and compiling data for Paris officials. The company is currently using cameras to collect travel information from Plaza de la Nation, where six different designs will be piloted over the course of a year.

“You could call it tactical urbanism — testing,” said Placemeter’s Florent Peyre. “All of them will go through a phase of temporary installing with deployments before selecting the winning design.”

Place de la Nation “has a lot of symbolic importance for Parisians,” said Peyre, and serves as a major gathering center for protests. But on a typical day it is practically overrun by fast-moving car traffic.

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Today’s Headlines

  • MyFigueroa Construction Will Finally Start In October (Urbanize)
  • Azusa Finally Completes Citrus Ave. Connection To APU Gold Line Station (SGV Tribune)
  • West Hollywood Metro Crenshaw Line Extension Could Move Earlier (WeHoVille, Urbanize)
  • Metro Expo Line’s Surprising Ridership Data (Planetizen)
  • Suspect Arrested In Elysian Valley L.A. River Bike Path Shooting (Eastsider)
  • Suspect Arrested In Pomona Hit-and-Run (LAT)
  • New Arcadia Station Shuttle To San Gabriel Mountains (SGV Tribune)
  • Councilmember Koretz Snubs Greenway/Bicycle Activist (Daily News)
  • Metro Bike Share News Round-Up (LADOT LeapLA Blog)
  • Daily Bulletin Columnist’s Cheap Date: Bus From Montclair to DTLA Museum
  • L.A. Ranks 24th For Bike-Friendly Cities Nationally (Biking in L.A.)
  • Chicago Testing Prepaid Bus Rapid Transit BRT Boarding (SB Chicago)
  • Self Driving Cars Will Save Time, Money, Lives, Make Cities Great (KPCC)
  • Applications Are Open Today For L.A. Great Streets Challenge Grants

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This Week In Livable Streets

sblog_calendarPlenty to do this week, with Happy Urbanists, People St, Metro, Renters’ march, Black Kids on Bikes, the L.A. County Bike Coalition and BUSted. Deets below. 

  • Monday 9/19 – Tonight! Happy Urbanists meet up tonight from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the art gallery of Diego Cardoso, located at the Santee Court Lofts at 716 S Los Angeles Street, Suite B, in downtown Los Angeles. Details at Facebook event.
  • Tuesday 9/20 – Join the Southern California chapter of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) in learning about the Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s (LADOT) innovative People St Program. LADOT’s Brian Oh will be sharing how communities can create plazas and parklets. Aaron Aulenta from the North Hollywood Business Improvement District will be describing the BID’s experience maintaining the NoHo People St Plaza. There is also a networking happy hour and networking afterwards at Pitfire Pizza. Free, but suggested $10 donation. The event takes place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the NoHo Plaza (alley off of Lankershim Blvd at Magnolia Blvd) in North Hollywood. RSVP and for more details, go to eventbrite.
  • Wednesday 9/21 – Metro hosts its Citizens’ Advisory Council General Assembly Meeting Agenda, including a look at Metro ridership and reliability. Meeting takes place at 6 p.m. at the Union Station Conference Room on the third floor at Metro Headquarters at One Gateway Plaza, behind Union Station in downtown L.A. Details at Metro.
  • Thursday 9/22 – Metro’s monthly board meeting will take place starting at 9 a.m. at the boardroom at Metro headquarters at One Gateway Plaza behind Union Station in downtown L.A. This month’s agenda includes heavy rail vehicles (new purchases and rehabilitation), open streets, West Santa Ana Branch rail, and more. Details at Metro meeting page.
  • Thursday 9/22 – As part of Homes For All / Hogares Para Todxs national Renters Day of Action For Dignity and Respect, people will take to the streets to end evictions, rising rents and displacement. Angelenos can participate locally in a march and rally from 12 noon to 2 p.m. at LaFayette Park at 625 S La Fayette Park Place in Westlake. Details at Facebook event.
  • Saturday 9/24 – Black Kids on Bikes is holding a free tune-up session in the Leimert Park plaza from 10 a.m to 12:30 p.m. The monthly BKOB Freedom Ride will take place right after, so please feel free to push some pedals with the crew. Details at Facebook event.
  • Saturday 9/24 – The L.A. County Bicycle Coalition will host a Family Fun Ride on the L.A. River. Meet at 11 a.m. at Marsh Park at 2944 Gleneden Street in Elysian Valley. RSVP and for more details, go to LACBC.
  • Sunday 9/25 – Hear car-free stories at BUSted with featured storytellers include Tony Bartolone, Brandon Burkhart, Mike Gamms, Julia Pels, and Alissa Walker. Hear the tales from 5 to 7 p.m. at Stories L.A. Books & Cafe at 1716 W Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park. Details at Facebook event.

Did we miss anything? Is there something we should list on future calendars? Email joe [at] streetsblog.org.

Streetsblog USA
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Talking Headways Podcast: A Different Look at Transportation

Our guest this week is Rob Puentes of the Eno Center for Transportation, an organization that has focused on better transportation outcomes for 95 years. Rob touches on a number of topics that we don’t usually explore in-depth, like aviation, freight, and coordinating automated vehicle policy. With November 8 less than two months away, we also discuss the presidential election. Enjoy.

Streetsblog USA
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Highlights From Park(ing) Day Around the Globe

Today is Park(ing) Day — a day to demonstrate how scarce street space can do so much more than store parked cars. Around the world, people are setting up camp in parking spots and turning them into public spaces.

Here are some of the fun and creative installations we’ve come across on social media. Just for fun, vote for your favorite at the bottom.

Cambridge

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Today’s Headlines

  • Market Pricing Is Working For Rams Games (LAT)
    Big Crowds Using Transit, Long Waits After Game (The Source)
  • Carnage: Hit-and-Run Driver Kills Man In Wheelchair In Pomona (LAT)
    Hit-and-Run Driver Kills Woman In Long Beach (LAT)
  • It Will Take More Than Bike Lanes To Make Bicycling Safe (Curbed)
  • Working Group Stuck On Car-Centric Verdugo Road (Walk Eagle Rock)
  • Former Glendale City Manager Sues City Over Broken Sidewalk (LAT)
  • Armed Man Causes Amtrak Train Police Stand-Off In Chattsworth (KPCCLAT)
  • Angels Flight Cleaned Up, Operational Future Uncertain (Tracks)
  • TOD Apartments To Replace Koreatown Parking Structure (Urbanize)
  • Metro Rail Stations That Have Transformed And Will Transform L.A. (L.A. Magazine)
  • Foothill Transit Class Pass Extends To Citrus College (Footnotes)
  • Audit Says San Diego Should Reduce Pedestrian Deaths (LAT)
  • Seek Cul-de-sacs For Safety, Get More Danger Due To More Driving (Price Tags)

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Get State Headlines At Streetsblog CA

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Plan Calls for Car-Share, Bike-Share, Ride-Hail to Reduce Cars in L.A. County

Cover of Los Angeles County Shared Mobility Action Plan [PDF]

Cover of Los Angeles County Shared Mobility Action Plan [PDF]

This week the non-profit Shared-Use Mobility Center released its blueprint for the future of Southern California. The Los Angeles County Shared Mobility Action Plan [PDF] outlines a future for L.A. County with expanded transit, car-share, bike-share, ride-hailing, mobility hubs, and more. The plan predicts that all this will lead to 2 percent less driving, meaning roughly 100,000 fewer private cars on L.A. streets in five years.

The new plan is more a vision than an adopted city plan, with no public agency imprimatur or funding behind it. Nonetheless, the plan lays out a series of recommendations, emphasizing expansion of shared mobility.

The vision is a compelling one: significant increases in transit ridership (34,000 new riders), bike-share (10,000 new bike-share bikes), car-share (8,400 new car-share vehicles) and carpooling/ride-splitting (16,800 new riders.) In order to achieve these increases, the plan prescribes relatively modestly increased funding for government agency programs: $16 million for car-share, $33-38 million for bike-share, $4-6 million for augmenting ride-hail, and $6-10 million for mobility hubs. These all complementing Measure M and existing funding streams for transit, active transportation, and the like.

After the jump, find bullet summaries of the key plan policies and programs, many of which building on existing efforts already underway. Read more…

Via Streetsblog California
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The Streetsblog California Park(ing) Day Post

Today is Park(ing) Day, the now-ten-year-old celebration that repurposes street parking spots for people rather than cars.

Westwood Village in Los Angeles was the first picture we found today via Twitter.

Westwood Village in Los Angeles was the first picture we found today via Twitter.

The concept is simple. People “take over” a parking space and use it for something other than car parking for a day, or a couple of hours, or until the meter runs out. As you would expect, Streetsblog generally finds Park(ing) Day pretty exciting and has led bike tours, produced maps, programmed our own spaces, and of course covered the heck out of the annual event.

This year, we’re asking for your help to cover Park(ing) Day throughout California.

The goal of Park(ing) Day is to show how much public space is wasted for below-market-rate storage of people’s personal property. Once people experience what can be done in even a small amount of space, they usually want changes in cities’ public parking policies.

Park(ing) Day is something of a success. Today, the concept of a “parklet” has taken hold in many cities, and what were temporary have in many spots become permanent people parking spots.

ReBar, the group that started the idea in 2006, no longer exists, and participation on the official Park(ing) Day website is spotty, so there’s no one central place you can go any more to see where parking spots are being turned into temporary parks in your city, or others. But other groups have taken over and run with the concept, from local advocacy groups like WOBO in Oakland to the American Society of Landscape Architects, which is designing and putting up parklets throughout the country today.

So there are still plenty of great Park(ing) Day parklets popping up around the state. Send your media from Park(ing) Day throughout California to damien@streetsblog.org or melanie@streetsblog.org and we’ll include it in this post. If we get enough media, we may even make our own video. More California Park(ing) Day Media, after the jump. Read more…

Streetsblog.net
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Seattle’s Decade-Long Shift Away From Solo Car Commuting

Seattle's smart transportation policies are moving people toward sustainable transportation. Photo: Seattle Bike Blog

Even with gas prices dropping the past two years, the trend in Seattle is away from solo car commuting. Photo: Seattle Bike Blog

New Census data is out on how Americans commute, and the standout success story is Seattle, where the rate of people who drive alone to work dropped 8.8 percent over the last decade.

Tom Fucoloro at Seattle Bike Blog lists some of the highlights — walking is up, the share of women biking to work is rising. All the trends in Seattle point in a positive direction:

The number of Seattleites driving alone to work hit a new modern low, making up just 48.5 percent of all commutes. This is particularly impressive since the decline in mode share happened despite a drop in gas prices that started in late 2014. Seattle is a leader in this trend among big U.S. cities, Yonah Freemark reported on Twitter

On the other hand, walking continued its strong trend upwards, hitting a new high at 10.7 percent. This is likely in large part due to increased housing near jobs.

The share of workers biking held steady at 4 percent and transit held steady at 21 percent. This means each mode grew in accordance with job growth.

While job growth in the city means the total number of Seattleites driving alone to work increased 9 percent since 2010, that’s well below the worker growth rate of 20 percent. If trends continue, the city will start adding jobs without adding cars. And if the city takes smart, bold action, this turning point could come sooner than later.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Today is Park(ing) Day – L.A. Park(s) in Downtown L.A. and Mid City West
    Ahbe Lab Recalls Memorable Recent Park(ing) Day Sites
  • County Opens New SG River Bike Path Connecting To Duarte Gold Line Station (KPCC, SGV Tribune)
  • Concerns Over Lead Contamination At Jordan Downs Redevelopment (The Root)
  • L.A. Looks To Redevelop El Pueblo Parking Lot (Urbanize)
  • The Source Mulls Tweets On New Census Transportation Data
  • CiclaValley Catches Up With L.A. Bike Dad
  • Future High-Tech Streets Make Measure R Unnecessary (CityWatch)
  • Long Beach Bike-Share Riders Traveled 35,000 Miles So Far (LBPT)
  • Researchers: Pokemon Causes 10,000 Distracted Driving Incidents Daily (LAT)

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Get State Headlines At Streetsblog CA