York Urbanist

Pedestrianization

An early example of a report directly applied to the pedestrian comes out of New York:  http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/transportation/td_fulllowermanhattan.pdf

Creating a trend to pedestrianization requires buy-in from the agencies that have influence.  As in the New York example, the planning and transportation departments authored the report.

Tokyo Street
Tokyo streets can be impassable

In the past, transportation departments’ raison d’etre was to move vehicles through urban spaces efficiently.  The premise was that a city’s economic health was in the road network of motorized vehicles. And so it was in the years following the mass production of motorized vehicles.  In our communication era, there is an understanding that economic health is actually generated by people.  It makes sense, then, to protect this resource.  Every driver is also a pedestrian.

A recent trip to Japan provided insights.  The sprawling urban landscape of Tokyo prove to be a testing ground for solutions to pedestrian passage through an urban system.

Tokyo was designed around prevention of invading foes from finding their way through the city to the palace.  This confusion of streets has created an identifiable city framework that is both interesting and challenging for the urban designer. Since the road network was created for vehicles, one often finds routes that must send the pedestrian above or below ground. Even 4 lane roads can become impassable due to traffic volumes. With a concentrated population of over 20 million, one can imagine why, at special times, pedestrian zones spill unsafely into vehicular areas.

 

Tokyo’s pedestrian zones can be inadequate.

Transit is elevated allowing pedestrians and vehicles free access below.Elevated pedways are solutions to crossing congested roads in Tokyo.