What Big Snow Can Tell Us (Ok, Maybe not US) About Our Streets

So the snow that hit the Northeast over the weekend is gradually sublimating and melting away, and a couple of the blogs on the Streetsblog Network
are looking at the difference in the way municipalities treated
pedestrians and motorists during and after the first big storm of the

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
has posted a telling video shot by local bike shop owner Michael
McGettigan. It shows how, two days after the last flakes fell, the
sidewalk on the Walnut Street Bridge — the busiest pedestrian bridge
crossing in the state of Pennsylvania — remained uncleared. As a
result, those on foot were forced out into the well-plowed roadway with
motor vehicles.

As the BCGP blog notes, some private property owners are being
ticketed for not shoveling the sidewalks in front of their homes, but
"apparently the city doesn’t ticket giant transportation agencies for
not keeping sidewalks clear."

Meanwhile, network member Greater Greater Washington
launched a discussion about whether local officials and news media in
the DC area were right to tell pedestrians to stay off the streets
during and immediately after the storm. The blog’s David Alpert asks:

that the smart move to ensure safety, or another sign of how our
society has come to view streets as the exclusive province of cars?
…A snowstorm that cuts down the level of traffic and restricts the
usable space in the roadway is an opportunity to examine how we think
about streets.

That’s exactly what Clarence Eckerson did in this video
from the Streetfilms archives, which captured conditions on NYC streets
in the wake of a blizzard that hit the city in February 2006. Check out
the naturally occurring neckdowns (h/t @guiweinmann).


Add a Green Buffered Bike Lane and Number of Cyclists Explode

Yesterday, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition released “2011 City of Los Angeles Bicycle & Pedestrian Count Report” and a separate study on bicycling on Spring Street in the Green Buffered Bike Lane.  The result?  Cycling in the city is on the upswing, as positive press, CicLAvia and new infrastructure are encouraging more people to […]

Danish Architect Jan Gehl on Good Cities for Walking

Editor’s note: Streetsblog San Francisco is thrilled to present a three-part series this week by renowned Danish architect and livable streets luminary Jan Gehl. The pieces are excerpts are from his book, “Cities for People” published by Island Press. This is part two. Donate to Streetsblog SF and you’ll qualify to win a copy of […]

Can LA Make “Great Streets” If the Mayor Won’t Stand Up for Good Design?

Los Angeles, with its expanding transit network, is supposed to be in the process of shedding its cocoon of car-centricity and emerging, in the words of a recent Fast Company headline, as America’s “next great walkable city.” The city’s streets, however, didn’t change a whole lot under former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. When Eric Garcetti was elected mayor in 2013, advocates thought […]