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why not close some streets to cars? « Previous | |Next »
June 28, 2009

Max Fisher in The Atlantic has a good idea, given the low profile that urban policy has in Australia---Inside Story does not even a category for cities, though Australian Policy Online does have an urban planning category.

Fisher says why not have a segregated set of roads and paths for bikes only. If we separate fast-moving highways from slow-moving local roads -- why not create a separate road system for even slower bikes as well?

 City planners should take overcrowded city streets, which barely move anyway and are unsafe for cyclists, and close them to cars. His argument is this:

Citing a need to alleviate motor traffic, reduce air pollution, and increase general health, cities are carving out more bike lanes. But bike lanes simply don't work. Maybe something about America's competitive cowboy culture means drivers just can't bring themselves to share the road, frequently parking in bike lanes, turning across bike lanes without warning, and colliding with bikes....The solution isn't more bike lanes, many of which are so poorly designed that they make biking even more dangerous.

If bike-only roads grow and traditional roads shrink, auto commuters who live close enough to work to bike will be far more inclined to do so, thus ultimately reducing traffic for those who must drive. This is one step to a sustainable city.

The policy reality is that even though urban public transport has accounted for much of the growth in travel from 2004 to 2008 in Australia a car travel continues to dominate travel in our cities. Though bikes are making a return in terms of cycling as exercise and for bike pools for getting around the city, little is being done in urban mobility plans to rollback the car's domination, despite the car being a major producer of greenhouse gases and toxic pollution in our cities. Since many roads were not designed to accommodate bicycles in Australian cities bikes compete with cars for space, and cyclists, along with pedestrians, belong to the most endangered road users.

Urban transport policy is still dominated by the neo-liberal prescription of privatizing public transport and price hikes for public transport in the name of market efficiency, as opposed to sustainable cities (cites that have less cars, renewable energy powered, and full of water recycling features) and a green economy. There is little attempt or desire to reduce car use further given the importance attached to subsidising car companies to produce more cars.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:37 AM | | Comments (1)


I would like to Sydney fitted with an underground Metro, so a person could live in Baulkhalm Hills - yes, I know sweeties, hiiiiideous - and not be unable to accept a job in Coogee because it was too far way.

An undergraound metro rail system that acts like London's Circle Line except it goes to Avalon across to Dural down to Penrith, Campbelltown, and Cronulla, up to Cogee onto Edgecliff and the City.

In addition two lines that diagonally traverse this circle line, meeting up with key nodes, such as Chatswood, Parramatta, etc.

Get the new metro to attract new nodes out in the suburbs, but make even Riverstone only 30 minutes from Coogee!

Then charge the shit out of cars for even existing.