Abstract: "Parked cars have colonized city streets for so long they seem to own the curb lanes. Decolonizing is underway, however, because new demands are overcrowding the curb. E-commerce deliveries need truck-loading zones. Uber and Lyft need passenger-loading zones. Traffic congestion has increased the need for dedicated bus lanes. Cyclists want safe bike lanes, and pedestrians want wide sidewalks. The curb is the new urban frontier, and parking is not always its most productive use. The curb lane will not be used properly until it is priced properly. When it comes to managing the curb, cities can let prices do the planning and use the resulting revenue to pay for public services. Getting curb parking prices right will improve cities, the economy, the environment, and the planet."
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The Mobility Sphere Forum is scheduled to take place in Amsterdam on October 4th, 2023 - a gathering of high-level experts across the public and private sectors aimed at rethinking mobility to disrupt the status quo, foster new perspectives, and craft innovative solutions.
Created in 2023, The Mobility Sphere by Transdev is a European think tank aimed at envisioning and providing a comprehensive outlook on the future of mobility. Our approach to mobility is firmly rooted in the concept of transition — whether environmental, social, economic, or territorial. We champion mobility as the cornerstone of inclusive, sustainable, and resilient cities and society.
Centered around the theme ‘Decarbonized mobility, mobility for all: transforming the way we move’, the upcoming Forum will gather approximately 100 mobility stakeholders from various European countries (France, Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, Sweden, etc.) for a half-day in the heart of Amsterdam. The discussion will be moderated in English by François Gemenne, Scientific Advisor of The Mobility Sphere.
Panel 1 - Desirable and decarbonized mobility: How to anticipate and adapt to uses?
- Karima Delli, Member of the European Parliament, Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (EU)
- Katarína Cséfalvayová, Director of the Institute for Central Europe & Executive Lead of the Danube Tech Valley Initiative, Former Member of Parliament (Slovakia)
- Zeina Nazer, Co-Founder of Cities Forum (United Kingdom)
Panel 2 - Desirable mobility for all: How to foster an inclusive shift towards decarbonization?
- Charlotte Halpern, Researcher at Sciences Po’s Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics (France)
- Madeleine Masse, Architect Urban Planner, Founding President of Atelier SOIL (France)
- Brian Caulfield, Professor in Transportation & Head of Department at Trinity College Dublin, Expert to the Irish National Transport Authority (Ireland)
- Antoine Grange, CEO Europe of Transdev, Chairman of The Mobility Sphere
- Elke Van den Brandt, Minister of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Mobility, Public Works and Road Safety (Belgium)
- Samah Karaki, Neuroscientist – Transitioning towards Sustainable Mobility: Cognitive Biases and the Impact of Social Environment.
To find out more about the forum and the programme, follow this link.
Places at the forum are limited, you can register by sending an e-mail before 25 September 2023 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the 7th episode of a series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. The question is whether motorized traffic must be banned from central parts of the city to improve the quality of the urban environment.
Most cities face a choice when it comes to accessibility of their central parts: Whether they renovate the road infrastructure or they face a growing and lasting conflict between car traffic and visitors, whose numbers will decrease further as a result of prioritizing cars. This post deals with the first option.
Changing priorities in the use of road space
The starting point for this renovation is choosing the best experience for both residents and visitors. Therefore, the use of road space in all parts of cities must be under scrutiny. This also applies the connecting roads between centers and the other parts of the city. The distribution of space between pedestrians, cyclists, cars, and public transport has to be reconsidered. A good example is the Ferdinand Bolstraat in Amsterdam. Cars have been banned, the sidewalks are widened, cyclists have their own lanes and the tram uses a switch track (photo below left), just as in Leidsestraat (photo above left).
The rule of thumb is that the larger a city and the better public transport is functioning, the more the accessibility by car of the central parts and the residential areas as well can be reduced. Visitors who rely on the use of a car then store their vehicle in a parking on the edge of the center, preferably near supermarkets or other places where voluminous purchases can be made. From these parking spaces they enter the central area on foot. Incidentally, it is worth considering opening the entire center to cars until 11 a.m. to pick up orders.
Cyclists can be allowed deeper penetration in the central urban area, but not unlimited. They leave their bicycles in (guarded) parking facilities too.
Public transport never stops more than 300 meters from the middle of the center, where comfortable waiting areas are offered, and information is available.
Separation of traffic flows
A separation of traffic flows is required for the entire urban area. The most central streets will be exclusively intended for pedestrians, emergency services and occasionally the tram. Bicycles are allowed in streets in the center, depending on their wideness.
Public transport has always priority at traffic lights. It ensures not only transfer-free accessibility of the urban center, but also connects the most important residential and work areas with a minimum number of transfer. The possible arrival of autonomous minibuses will radically improve the flexibility of public transport (photo above right).
Intra-urban walking and cycling routes
Pedestrians’ and cyclists’ safety and amenity are improved if the connections between the central and outlying parts of the city are accessible by separate routes too. In a city whose green space penetrates deep into the central area, these routes can partly run through nature. A good example is the cycle route from the center of Utrecht to Leidsche Rijn (photo bottom right). Pedestrians need an attractive route through the built-up area for reasons of social safety.
Follow the link below to find an overview of all articles.
This article is part of the series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. Read how design, starting from the physical aspects of the streetscape en -pattern contributes to the quality of the urban environment. Follow the link below to find an overview of all articles.
Streets and squares are appreciated best if there is cohesion between several elements, such as the block height, the number of floors, the type of houses, the building line and the colour. When some elements work together, others can vary. Uniformity without variation results in people avoiding a street.
Coherence and variation in balance
Variation creates liveliness and will extend the time visitors spend on a street. This principle is applied almost everywhere in the world. Walls are fitted with arches, pillars, porches, porches, pitched roofs, windowsills, canopies, balustrades, cornices, dormer windows, linear and vertical elements, see the bottom-centre image of a Paris’ building. At the same time, the attributes of separate buildings that provide variety are most effective against a coherent background. The Parisian avenues illustrate this too, because most edifices are built according to the same principles while the ornamentation of each facade differs. The attractive streetscape in Sicily (top right) and in the Alsace (bottom right) demonstrate an almost perfect balance between similarity and difference.
Use of colour
A good example are the painted houses in the Canadian settlement of Lunenburg, which was founded in the 18th century by German woodworkers and is a UNESCO world heritage site today (top centre). The nature of the construction and the type of buildings ensure cohesion; the colour provides the variation.
A manageable pattern of similarly important streets contributes to the spread of visitors and provides a level playing field for shops and restaurants. A mesh, which does not necessarily have to be rectangular, facilitates orientation. A rectangular street pattern is at the expense of the element of surprise and detracts from the feeling that there is something to discover. Squares will often be found at street intersections.
Understanding of the pattern of the streets is reinforced by providing intersections with landmarks, such as statues, fountains, or distinguishing buildings (photo, top right). These elements help visitors developing a mental map. Maps every here and there are more helpful than signposts. The fewer poles in the ground, the better.
Canals and moats
Canals and moats also contribute to the attractivity of the streetscape. They restore the human dimension in too wide streets, also in new parts of the city. The images on the left show a central street in Zaandam (top) and a 'waterway' in the Amsterdam Houthavens quarter (bottom). The edges of waterways should never be used as parking spaces. Definitely not in Amsterdam, because its unique streetscape.