Ben Adler brings us this story on Sacramento‘s recent decision to reopen the K Street Pedestrian Mall to cars. K Street, as with many similar projects across America, died when it was closed off to vehicle traffic, losing shoppers and gaining criminals. This is actually a great decision and will hopefully reinvigorate the area. Even though I don’t use a car myself, I and many other New Urbanists realize that cars still play a very important role in cities. Most people still travel by car, and if you don’t allow cars at all then you don’t allow a large segment of your population. Cars are good for retail because it allows more people to see street signs and to take part in commerce. It also puts more eyes on the street, reducing crime. Parked cars along streets add to pedestrian safety, creating somewhat of a wall between pedestrians and fast-moving cars. The problem comes when people plan for cars only, allowing them to go at lethal speeds, providing too much parking, and diminishing the pedestrian scale of a place, making it boring and dangerous for people walking or biking. Good communities need to plan both for cars and for people, and to give precedence to people, because as long as they are able, the cars will still come.
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