Over the last half-century design firms have proven that transportation engineering can generate profound reductions in inefficiencies relating to how we get around. In almost every case the increase in mobility will also reduce emissions. Many of the contemporary models highlight congestion flow to advocate for alternatives to cars and unnecessary lanes or merges.
The most effective projects at contributing towards the health of environment were drawn out to see the “road for the cars.” By cleaning or replacing the arteries of society we call major roads, the city organism adapts to find alternate patterns of flow. These Urban Arborists are tasked with being able to perform complex pruning procedures to remove the damaged limbs of traffic and allow the liquid nature of transport to assume freer flow of motion.
In Portland Oregon where I currently live the residents have been given an incredible gift by urban planners in the SW waterfront on Harbor Drive. In the late 60’s the inspired saw fit to simply get rid of a major highway. As the city center began to expand while other highways were being built across the river engineers supported a beautification project to replace the 6-lane road with an esplanade. The location is now continually busy with pedestrians stepping outside of their cars to walk and exercise their way around town. This park is also home to the weekly Saturday Market that serves as a staple for the entire community. Rather than looking for ways to improve the road already in use the enlightened tore it down to create a brand new and highly functional solution.
The picture at the beginning of this article depicts Broadway at 6th Avenue in Manhattan. Notorious as an intersection to be wary of during most hours of the day, city planners are advocating for a removal of Broadway car traffic to keep the flow akin the general grid of the rest of the city. Doing so will not only decrease emissions from the dreaded gridlock in the Big Apple, but also increase foot traffic and economic health of those stores less travelled on a road filled with honking vehicles.
While there are many options available to lubricate the efficiency of your own life without alternating the course of your day, the real answers to the question before us concerns rethinking and reinterpreting how we go about our daily lives (remember the soapbox from last week?). Otherwise we will all fall victim to life as Sisyphus, always looking for different ways to push the same rock up the same hill.
Stayed tuned for next week’s update.
Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.