Changing the World by Changing Street Design

The expectation is that our streets are for cars. Car-dominated design has really wreaked havoc on cites. Changing that street code and working fast to show people what possibilities are hidden in plain site is really important.

“Every inch of the 180 acres we reclaimed from cars was a fight. When you change the DNA of a city it can raise hackles. People in every city have reasons why they can’t lose a parking space, why every lane is needed, and a lot of times that they need even more lanes. Navigating that fight is a key part of the process. It requires not just a new vocabulary for street design in our cities, but literally a new vocabulary to describe these kinds of changes. And it does require political courage to try something for the first time and strategies to win buy-in from the public.” (Janette Sadik-Khan)

Janette Sadik-Khan helped change New York. As commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sadik-Khan and her staff implemented an unprecedented number of progressive streets projects.

The real lesson here is if you build eight lanes of roads you’re going to get eight lanes of traffic. But if you want streets that are safer, more walkable, more affordable, better for the economy and transit, you can start by building a bike lane.

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