The latest trend in urbanism: banning cars on city streets

The latest trend in urbanism: banning cars on city streets

28 October 2019 7991

Last week the website announced plans to ban car traffic on one of the busiest streets in San Francisco. It is claimed that the restriction will affect absolutely all cars, including taxis operating on the basis of sharing platforms Uber and Lyft. The Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Walk San Francisco is quoted as saying, “A half million people walk on Market Street each day, yet it’s one of our city’s most dangerous streets for traffic crashes, if you look at the number of road accidents occurring here. The Better Market Street plan will finally change that, plus create a more climate-friendly city and an incredible public space at the same time.”

San Francisco isn’t the only city rethinking the role of cars in urban transportation. In April, New York City banned cars on Central Park’s internal streets. Paris’ city center, for example, is car-free on the first Sunday of every month, while in Bogotá, Colombia, cars are banned on 75 miles’ worth of roads every Sunday.

“Our main objective is to give the streets back to people,” Hanna Marcussen, Oslo’s vice mayor for urban development, recently told the BBC. “It is about how we want to use our streets and what the streets should be for. For us, the street should be where you meet people, eat at outdoor restaurants, where kids play, and where art is exhibited.”

The complete rejection of cars is rather an exception than a rule so far, which cannot be said about partial restrictions on entry into the center that are in force in most densely populated cities of Europe. Travel by private transport is either completely prohibited or allowed subject to a “congestion charge”. The main purpose of such measures is to make a trip by car as unprofitable as possible. Laws aimed at this are in force in Vienna, London, Madrid, Milan, Prague, Rome, Stockholm and so on. Nevertheless, traffic congestion continues to be a problem of all major settlements, both in Old and New Worlds. It should be expected that the bans will increase more and more.

Having faced the obvious crisis of cars as a means of transportation, cities are forced to look for new opportunities for transport mobility. However, the transition from personal to street public transport cannot fully ensure the achievement of the stated goals – “to return streets to the people.” For this reason, we should also talk about innovative systems of cargo and passenger transportation, among which SkyWay is one of the most developed and promising.

The creator of SkyWay Anatoli Unitsky speaks about the necessity to provide streets to pedestrians and arrangement of all transport communications above the earth’s surface since the eighties of the XX century. He has developed in detail the concept of linear cities implementing this principle in the framework of the 1995 monograph and the work on 1998 and 2002 UN grants. To date, most of the technical innovations necessary to create effective transport communications of the “second level” have been implemented in practice. On the other hand, judging by the crisis trends described in this and our other publications, the demand for such solutions has increased more than ever before. SkyWay offers a comprehensive approach to solving urgent problems of optimizing transport systems and opens opportunities for the development of cities of the future in such a way as to avoid similar problems in the future. Interest to transport systems of the future is manifested in many countries. The leaders of one of the world’s most technically developed countries, the United Arab Emirates are among the first of them.

The publication has been prepared by
Otse Gabriel Ogbu
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29 October 2019
Publication is fantastic and commendable.

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