To reduce their carbon footprint, four European cities introduce drastic traffic regulation plans

MADRID TRAFFIC. (DAVIDE ZANCHETTIN // FLICKR)

Traffic in Madrid. (Davide Zanchettin / Flickr)

Amidst the COP21 UN Climate Change Conference, numerous cities announced questionably large goals to reduce carbon emissions. However, Oslo, Stockholm, Amsterdam, and Madrid, have backed their goals with concrete plans for extreme traffic regulation, ranging from a car-free city center in Oslo to free public transportation in Madrid.

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Contrary to popular belief, the sacred “T” in TOD may not be necessary for reduced car dependence

City Terrain, East, Urbanism
Monday, December 7, 2015
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NJ Transit (Marcin Bajer / Flickr)

NJ Transit (Marcin Bajer / Flickr)

Urban planning credo states that, through design and policy interventions that improve access to public transportation, Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) reduces car dependency and encourages individuals to walk, bike, bus, or take the train to their destination. Well, maybe. A University of California, Berkley study suggest that, for rail, the T in TOD may not be necessary to reduce car travel in neighborhoods that are dense and walkable, with scarce parking.

Continue reading after the jump.

Over a quarter of the streetcar systems taking shape in the U.S. are in Midwest cities

Proposed Milwaukee Streetcar in the Third Ward neighborhood of Milwaukee. (Milwaukee Streetcar)

Proposed Milwaukee Streetcar in the Third Ward neighborhood of Milwaukee. (Milwaukee Streetcar)

According to the American Public Transportation Association, a public transit advocacy group, there are more than 90 cities in the United States that are actively considering implementing streetcar systems. Of those 90, over a quarter are in the Midwest. Though all in different stages of planning, development, and construction, a handful are well underway, with service beginning as early as 2016.

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Pictorial> Take a look inside Dattner’s 34th St-Hudson Yards subway station, now open to the public

(Patrick Cashin for MTA / Flickr)

(Patrick Cashin for MTA / Flickr)

On Sunday, September 13th, New York City got its first new subway station in 25 years. Located at 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue, the 34th St-Hudson Yards station extended the 7 train one and a half miles to serve Manhattan’s Far West Side.

See inside the station after the jump.

Milan hops on the car-banning bandwagon with its own proposal to create zones of “pedestrian privilege”

Milan_tram_at_Scala_theatre_(232522732)

(Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Milan is the latest city to join the ranks of Paris, Madrid, Brussels, and Dublin in expelling cars from its smoggy, often gridlocked city center. Unlike its more zealous counterparts, the city has opted for an incremental approach, with no proposed timeline and a gradual, virtually street by street implementation.

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Traffic-plagued Dublin institutes a ban on cars in downtown area to reduce city-center congestion

(Courtesy Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority)

(Courtesy Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority)

In another radical pushback on the congestion-creating, carbon-emitting automobile, the Dublin City Council and National Transport Authority have proposed to ban private cars from entire sections of the city’s downtown core. The capital city of Ireland and prime economic hub ranks tenth globally in terms of traffic congestion, according to a study led by GPS maker TomTom.

Continue reading after the jump.

Austin Considers Building A Light Rail-Streetcar Hybrid

(Courtesy Project Connect)

(Courtesy Project Connect)

As part of continuing efforts in the Southwest to develop and improve transit systems, the City of Austin has announced its intention to build an urban rail system known as UltraRail that will run through the city’s eastern downtown.

Continue reading after the jump.

Denver’s Union Station Elevates Rail Travel in Colorado

(Courtesy Skidmore, Owings & Merrill)

(Courtesy Skidmore, Owings & Merrill)

Denver’s Union Station, a multi-modal transit hub built by architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, opened up last month. The ribbon cutting ceremony severed the notion that transportation hubs are drab, gray places that smell suspiciously of food products and cleaning chemicals. What does the Union Station Bus Concourse do differently? Everything, apparently. Its sweeping design acts as a converging point for local commuters, airport bound travelers, and out-of-city destinations.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Campaign Seeks to Ease New York’s Traffic, Build Transit With New Tolling Structure

New York City traffic. (Courtesy Flickr / Gregg Sloan)

New York City traffic. (Courtesy Flickr / Gregg Sloan)

Manhattan has a traffic problem. But, as of now, New York City has only taken marginal steps to fix it. To some, charging tolls on certain bridges and tunnels leading to the island, but not on others is uneven or unfair. To former New York traffic commissioner, “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz, however, it’s “a cockamamie system of charging people that makes absolutely no sense.” And today, Schwartz and Move NY are launching a campaign against that “cockamamie system” as they call for new strategies to ease congestion.

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Public transit has climbed back to 1956 levels of usage

City Terrain, National, Transportation
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
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Public transit

(Courtesy Wilson Santos/flickr)

The U.S. has finally caught up to 1956. With the help of 146 million more people, the country has finally managed to match the number of trips American’s took on mass transit 57 years ago. Largely skirting the population elephant in the corner the American Public Transport Administration released a reported revealing some 10.7 billion trips were taken on US public transportation in 2013.

More after the jump.

Urban Innovator Enrique Peñalosa To Run for Colombian Presidency

Enrique Peñalosa

Vaunted champion of urban living standards Enrique Peñalosa (pictured) is running for president of Colombia. As mayor of Bogotá, Peñalosa introduced a number of changes that improved the city’s public transportation system and also made it more pedestrian- and bike-friendly. His three-year reign witnessed the the implementation of the TransMilenio bus rapid transit system which services 2 million Colombians daily. He also  instituted of a number of measures strategically restricting auto-traffic within certain parts of the city. Since 2009 the Duke alum has been president of the Institute for Transport and Development Policy, an organization that promotes transportation solutions globally. Peñalosa will be representing Colombia’s Green Party in the 2014 elections, which take place May 25.

Civic group calls on Chicago to expand car-free zones

Harry and Guenter Kempf Plaza in Chicago's Lincoln Square. (Google Maps)

Harry and Guenter Kempf Plaza in Chicago’s Lincoln Square. (Google Maps)

The jostle of potholes notwithstanding, motorists might find nothing unbalanced about Chicago’s public streets. But the Active Transportation Alliance points out while nearly a quarter of the city is in the public right-of-way, cars dominate practically all of it.

Citing the city’s Make Way for People initiative, which turns over underused street space to pedestrians, the group released 20 proposals Wednesday, calling on City Hall to create car-free spaces from Wrigley Field to Hyde Park. Read More

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