Category Archives: 2.2 – cycling

New Urbanism vs. Suburbanism

The future of automobile infrastructure: Antonio Segni Bridge, Rome

Usually, a highway is a mono-functional road, designed to carry cars from one place to another at a maximum speed.  But, sometimes highways don’t carry so many cars as expected,  and other uses start to appear.

An example of the re-use of highways was the Antonio Segni Bridge in Northern Rome, the east-west road in the photo here below.

vigne-nuove

(image: microsoft virtual earth)

Designed to be part of the Milan-Naples highway, the Antonio Segni Bridge has survived as an isolated stretch when the motorway was re-routed on a more external path. Closed to traffic for almost ten years, it has become the favorite place for pedestrians and cyclists’ sunday strolls. When it was opened to motorized traffic, few cars passed on the Bridge, and pedestrian and cyclists still continued to use its sidewalks as a shortcut to reach otherwise far neighborhoods.

Some improvement could be made in order to make the bridge a more interesting place:

  • wider sidewalks and zebra crossings.
  • more pedestrian connections to nearby neighborhood.
  • a landscaped median.

Here is a similar example, from Minneapolis:

video: streetsblog.org

Tysons Corner turns into a downtown

“From ancient times, what made a city a city was how it functioned, not how it looked. And this is especially true today, for we have not built a single old-style downtown from raw dirt in seventy-five years.”

(Joel Garreau, Edge City: Life on the New Frontier, Chapter 2)

This is how Joel Garreau described in 1991 the trend in urban planning in USA and in most developped countries. Downtowns were a thing of the past, office parks, shopping centers, single-family houses and motorways were the future. One of the symbols of this “Life on the New Frontier” was Tysons Corner, an area capable to attract offices and retail, but lacking public space. (the description of Tysons Corner by Joel Garreau, is here).

tysons-corner

A typical Tysons Corner road (image: Microsoft Virtual Earth)

18 ans later, Tysons Corner has become one of the symbol of post-war urbanism’s excesses: the lack of public spaces forces dwellers and workers to go everywhere by car, and traffic jams occur every day.

In order to solve the problem, Fairfax county approved a master plan which will thansform Tysons Corner in an “old-style downtown”:

  • A new metro line to Washington,
  • a new series of pedestrian spaces,
  • smaller blocks and more through roads.

tysons_rendering2

(image: Tysons Tomorrow)

After Brasilia, another 20th century city reinvents itself.

further readings:

First we kill the architects…

(source: new york times)

David Byrne’s bike racks

(source: creative class)

bikes for all needs

(video: conference bike)

As car sales dop and bike sales skyrocket, more and more bike models are launched. After the conference bike and the pedal pub, it’s time for family bikes! Here’s a list of the most interesting ones (tips on other models are always welcome):

Bella bike

The Dutch Bike Factory

De Fiets Fabriek

Trio bike

Zigo

(sources: carectomy, copenhagenize, springwise)

Spatial organization and human nature

If we think, like Le Corbusier, that human nature is bad, social interactions can only lead us away from the Truth, thus shall be discouraged. A “bad human nature city” will have freeways with no sidewalk, windows on nature, shopping centers with security guards preventing unwanted behaviours…

If we think, like Jane Jacobs, that human nature is good, social interaction can only bring good things, thus shall be incouraged. A “good human nature city” will have roads full of people, windows on the streets, improvised parties, bars and cafés, flash mobs, free hugs, bicycle races

(source: urban reinventors)

bike sharing grows more and more

Some days ago I was wariting about bike sharing in Lausanne. Now, things are evolving fastly, and more and more cities are implementing a bike sharing program.

so, let’s make a list of bike sharing services all over the world:

Barcelona

Geneva

IKEA

Lausanne

Lyon

New York

Montreal

Paris

Rome

Sevilla

Tulsa (Oklahoma)

Vancouver

informations about other cities are more than welcome!

updates will appear on the dedicated page.

(sources: roma pedala, streetsblog)

A short history of America

Some posts ago, we saw the first steps that gave birth to a road.

Here is the rest of the story (by R. Crumb)

(source: carfree)

Sunday street in Bogotà: la Ciclovia

Once famous just for its internal wars, Colombia is experiencing big changes in its architectural and social life. In its capital, Bogotà, quality of life has improved dramatically in the last years: one of the examples of this improvements is Bogotà’s sunday street, the famous “Ciclovia”.

(source: streetfilms)