Tuesday, 11 June 2013

REWARD : "Streets to live by"

"How livable street design can bring economic, health and quality-of-life benefits 

Many critical issues faced by New York City, including public health, environmental sustainability and
long-term economic viability are best addressed at street level. Following the lead of cities across the
globe, the City is now employing livable streets as a central strategy to nurture a healthy population

and support local economies in all fi ve boroughs.

A livable street prioritizes people and all their activities – sitting, strolling, resting, shopping and
observing city life. Cities such as San Francisco and London have embarked on large-scale livable
streets initiatives to encourage people to walk, ride a bike or hop on the train rather than get behind
the wheel of a private automobile. In turn, livable street improvements are bringing striking economic
and quality-of-life benefi ts to those cities. For example, pedestrian-friendly retail zones are drawing
large numbers of new shoppers and quiet and traffi c-calmed streets are bringing higher property
values, less crime and greater social cohesion among neighbors.

Livable streets have demonstrated the following eff ects on local economies:

Pedestrian zones in city centers have boosted foot traffi c by 20-40% and retail sales by 10-25%.

Property values have increased by nearly one-third after traffi c calming measures were installed.

Property values on quiet streets are generally higher than those on noisy streets. In the extreme,
the value of a house on a quiet street would be 8-10% higher than the same house on a noisy

Public recreational and gathering space increases property values. Apartment prices near
community gardens in New York City are 7% higher than comparable apartments in the same

Many important quality-of-life benefi ts also arise with livable streets. Increased outdoor activity
and reduced air pollution translate into better public health. More people walking about and
enjoying sidewalk space creates a livelier city and is the fi rst step towards stronger neighborhoods.
Demonstrable progress toward these goals can be measured: lower obesity and diabetes rates, lower
noise and air pollution levels, and increases in the size of residents’ social networks.

But there is more to be done. To make the city’s streets more livable and achieve the economic,
health and quality-of-life benefi ts that other cities have experienced, leadership and coordination are
required. Unlike most policies that fall within the jurisdiction of only one City agency, livable streets
policies require agency staff to work together in completely new ways.

To this end, we off er the following recommendations:

1. Make livable streets the rule. The Mayor should mandate livable streets as the overarching goal
for all city streets. Improvements that support livable streets, whether through new construction,
street rebuilding or zoning amendments, should be the standard, not the exception.

2. Increase the amount of walking (...). A walking city is a healthy, livable city.

3. Promote livable streets on the basis of public health.

4. Promote livable streets in business districts.

5. Put livable streets on the agenda (..).

6. Create Parking Benefit Districts. The City should create Parking Benefit Districts like the ones
adopted by Washington. D.C. In a Parking Benefit District, meter prices in commercial corridors
are increased on the basis of demand (to achieve 85% occupancy) and a portion of the new
revenue generated by the higher meter rates is directed back to the districts in the form of
pedestrian, cycling and surface transit improvements.

7. Reduce congestion in neighborhoods.

8. Promote car sharing. Incentivize car-sharing in the city and track its effect on travel behavior."

in, www.transalt.org
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