Mark Gorton, founder of The Open Planning Project, points out how parked cars and street use makes a difference in two streets just blocks apart in SoHo are felt by pedestrians.
<p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Mark Gorton:</i> [00:00]
Well let’s get a shot of this when there isn’t much traffic.
But you sort of see how like there’s parking, like people… cars
are parked on the street. It’s not like a totally car-free spot.
But there’s not very much traffic at certain points in time, and you
can cross from one space to another. If you look down this street,
you sort of see it feels kind of like one space. Now you’ll
see if… if we get to some other streets, I’m going to point out
where they park up all along the roads on both sides. It doesn’t
feel like one space, it feels like, you know, two really narrow spaces.
Right now my sense of space is probably like 20 or 30 feet wide.
You know a lot of times there’s only two or three people ride.
Psychically it makes it a huge difference in how people experience this
space. And also just the ability, and again you have to have pretty
low levels of traffic for this and very little parking on the street,
to sort of psychically and seamlessly cross the street backwards and
forwards. I mean that used to be the essence of New York.
Your neighbour across the street was no further than your neighbour
next door from you. Right now on most streets, the neighbour across
the street might as well live two miles away cos it’s a life threatening
experience to like go over and say hi there. And so here’s Thompson
Street, this is just a couple of blocks over from where we were before.
And let’s just notice how different it looks. You look down
the street, this is what you see, there’s a very narrow corridor here.
Now there are a fair number of people, you can’t even see all the
way down the street cos people are so squished there. Try and
get to that side of the street, it’s hard. I know, you know,
and who are these people? These people… it’s just car storage.
Well, you know what? Public space is really precious. Free
car storage is like the lowest use of public space, yet it’s probably
the most predominant. </font> <br></p>
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