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Goodbye, Sidewalks: London Planners Break Down Boundaries Between Cars and Pedestrians

Londoners learn how to share the street without barriers to keep vehicles and pedestrians apart.

Advocates for livable streets usually push for more sidewalks and bike lanes to protect pedestrians and cyclists from cars. Division is seen as the key to safety and participation. But a new project in London questions the idea of barriers to begin with, envisioning a "shared space" for the intermingling of vehicles and walkers. It may seem chaotic, but planners believe it could foster a more accessible, safer, pedestrian-friendlier thoroughfare by forcing everyone to slow down and be aware of who's on the road.

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Hangzhou's Massive Bike-Share System Dwarfs All Others

China has, in a few short years, built a 50,000-bike system for a city of nearly 7 million people.

Bike-sharing isn't just for affluent, progressive Western cities anymore. A couple weeks ago, Dani Simons from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy wrote about Mexico City's impressive pilot program, which is succeeding in the face of typical Third-World urban challenges. And now, as this video from Streetfilms and ITDP shows, a Chinese city is taking the bike-share concept and utterly dominating it.

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Bike Sharing Thrives, Even in Mexico City's Chaotic Streets

Five years ago, it would have taken a brave soul to ride a bike in downtown Mexico City. Not anymore, thanks to a wildly popular bike share system.

Five years ago, it would have taken a brave soul to ride a bike in downtown Mexico City, a place often associated with nightmarish traffic (the average commute is one and three-quarter hours each day) and poor air quality. But the city has made dramatic strides to promote cycling, from Muévete en Bici, street closures on Sunday mornings that attract more 15,000 cyclists each week, to a commitment to build 100 miles of bike paths by 2012, to the launch of a world-class bike share system, ECOBICI.

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Video: Driver Plows Through Critical Mass Bike Ride in Brazil [Updated]

Watch the video of a vehicular homicide attempt, get outraged, and then commit to doing something to make your streets safer.

[Update, 3/2/2011 7:10am ET: According to O Globo, the leading newspaper in Brazil, the driver was arrested early this morning. He is rightly being charged with murder. Huge thanks to commenter victordemartino for the heads up.]

Unfortunately, sometimes, people aren't awesome. Last Friday night in Porto Alegre, Brazil, during a peaceful Critical Mass bike ride, a driver accelerated through the crowd of cyclists, sending bodies flying and injuring many. Amazingly, nobody was killed in the attack, but eight were hospitalized.

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Chart: There Is No "War On Cars" in New York City

Local media is calling it a "war on cars." This chart shows that if it is a "war," the cars are winning.

"The city’s war on automobiles has just gone aerial," crowed the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post in January. "Some might say there is a 'war on cars' going on in New York City," whined the Rupert Murdoch-owned My Fox News New York last Fall.

The media—particularly the Rupert Murdoch-owned media—loves for there to be a "war on" something or other that embodies the conservative status quo. A few years ago it was the "war on Christmas." Now it's the "war on cars."

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Car-Free New York City Streets, a Beautifully Illustrated Dream

For a recent New York Times opinion piece, Bruce McCall imagines what the Big Apple might look like if all roads were car-free. It's not pretty.


What would the streets of New York City look like without cars? For a recent New York Times opinion piece, Bruce McCall imagines what the Big Apple might look like all roads were car-free. It's a vision we could surely get behind.

UPDATE: While I acknowledge that I totally failed to communicate it, the point of this post was that although McCall is bearish on the idea, we stand by our support of livable streets.

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