Ten ideas for making NYC streets a  APR 08 2008

Ten ideas for making NYC streets a more friendly place for those not in automobiles, including the woonerf, bicycle boulevards, and the green grid.

A woonerf, which is surfaced with paving blocks to signal a pedestrian-priority zone, is, in effect, an outdoor living room, with furniture to encourage the social use of the street. Surprisingly, it results in drastically slower traffic, since the woonerf is a people-first zone and cars enter it more warily. "The idea is that people shall look each other in the eye and maneuver in respect of each other," Mr. Gehl said.

Pedestrian, cyclists, and motorists looking each other in the eye reminded me of a passage that Tyler Cowen pulled from Peter Moskos' Cop in the Hood:

Car patrol eliminated the neighborhood police officer. Police were pulled off neighborhood beats to fill cars. But motorized patrol -- the cornerstone of urban policing -- has no effect on crime rates, victimization, or public satisfaction. Lawrence Sherman was an early critic of telephone dispatch and motorized patrol, noted, "The rise of telephone dispatch transformed both the method and purpose of patrol. Instead of watching to prevent crime, motorized police patrol became a process of merely waiting to respond to crime."

Officers traveling in high speeds in cars apart from pedestrian and living areas makes it difficult for them to look potential criminals in the eye. (thx, meg)

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