Lessons from New York

It is extraordinary that the Americans are showing us how to do things in terms of urban planning. Not only are light rail schemes popping up everywhere, but now New York is shutting several major intersections around Broadway to give pedestrians exclusive access.
Yet in London, the backward looking Boris, who is showing himself up to be the small c conservative that his blustering style masks, has scrapped plans to part-pedestrianise various major squares such Parliament Square – although the Tamils have done their best to try to take it over in recent weeks causing traffic chaos which would not have happened had it been pedestrianised as originally envisaged – and shown no interest in pursuing closure of Oxford Street, which will be its only salvation.
This is not being anti-car. The motor car has its place but at the Mayor of New York seems to have recognised, that place is not in the centre of towns. He points out that pedestrianisation is good for business, as well as the environment and will even improve traffic flow on other routes. Come on Boris, learn the lesson.

  • RapidAssistant

    Have to say the last few times I’ve been in London I’ve relished a walk down Oxford Street like a visit to the dentist. It’s mad when you look at every other major city in Britain and the main shopping thoroughfares are pedestrianised (New Street in Birmingham, Market Street in Manchester, Glasgow’s “Golden Z” etc etc).

    Like a lot of people I’ve learned the geography of the back streets around Oxford Street and I usually “walk parallel” until I reach the area I want to get to and then cut back onto it, but this surely must cost a lot of shops footfall.

  • Matt

    Ken was in power for 8-years and made no serious attempt to sort out Oxford Street, instead he seems to have made it worse- can there be a street in the world with more buses than Oxford street? I doubt it.

    Until someone works out what to do with them, I cant see it ever being pedestrianised.

  • I know Britain and America have a “special relationship” and all that, but turn around and face in the opposite direction and you’ll see that the Netherlands has been doing these things, and more, for forty odd years…

  • Reiver1959

    London and pedestrianisation? Surely that won’t happen because what would they do with the ‘traffic enforcement officers’, ‘congestion charge enforcement officers’ etc etc who patrol ‘the mean streets’? Last year, while people watching from an eatery on Oxford Street I was struck by just how many uniforms were walking by, and I don’t mean police. It reminded me of a visit to the old USSR in the mid-80s.

  • London & New York have much in common. Both cities have rail-based transport arteries, are pedestrian friendly and are re-embracing more rail based solutions to congestion and motorcar based predicaments.
    The city of Detroit, Michigan is another story—as the most public transport impoverished city in the world, the Detroit metropolitan region is 99.99% motorcar dependant with few destinations within walking distance, only the remaining .01%!
    Automobile utopia=transportation dystopia…

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