A Citywide Prescription for Livable Streets

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"Streets to Live By" marshals data from several cities to make the case for investing in livable streets in New York.

Today Transportation Alternatives released "Streets to Live By" [PDF], the report previewed last week in the Observer. It seeks to define what makes a street livable and to synthesize a broad range of data, culled from numerous cities, on the effects of policies that put pedestrians first.

This doc is a big one, and we’re still sifting through it. An early impression: The evidence gathered here related to economic development, health, and social wellbeing suggests that a number of city agencies should be shepherded into the livable streets fold. From the report’s recommendations:

Improvements that support livable streets, whether through new construction, street rebuilding or zoning amendments, should be the standard. Coordination and creative problem solving between these agencies, including the Department of City Planning (DCP), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Department of Design and Construction (DDC), Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and Department of Sanitation (DOS) would be best led by the DOT and the Mayor’s Office of Planning and Sustainability.

The report also names the Department of Health and the Department of Small Business Services as agencies that can forge stronger ties to a livable streets agenda, and calls for a livable streets training program aimed at the city’s community boards. "We recognize that the jurisdiction of each agency only goes so far," says T.A.’s Shin-pei Tsay, "and
we hope there can be greater collaboration between them."

  • I like that pie chart. It’s a nice graphical representation of the concept that while drivers are actually in the minority, it seems like they’re everywhere because they take up so much space per person.

  • Howard

    Oh gosh – Graz was one of the most spectacular cities I visited in Europe. It really is an authentic treasure tucked in the middle of nowhere in southern Austria. Beautiful architecture, trams and buses everywhere, happy, healthy people – the livable city dream! Even outside the historic center, buses were frequent and small public “piazzas” common. Excellent train service to Vienna and Venice. Who could ask for more?

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