Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pedestrian Zones

One of the first things I noticed when I was in Scotland was how there seemed to be a better sharing of public space between the motorist and the pedestrian. In many of the villages in the Highlands, (people living in the towns and villages have car parking on their property) normally there is a public parking lot on the edge of town and you are expected to walk around the village core.

Pedestrian Zone in Fort Williams, Scotland (POP: 10,000)

In the larger center, many of the important high streets (shopping areas) have pedestrian only zones for the majority of the day. These streets have shoppers, protesters, and performers: the streets are alive! Of course, as you can see from the pictures below, there are provisions for commercial delivery. Also, pedestrian zones are only done of select sections of streets.

Pedestrian Zone in Edinborough, Scotland (POP: 500,000)

Glasgow, Scotland (POP: 2.3 million)

Back in the 1970's, many urban planners tried to create pedestrian only zones in North America, but ended up messing things up and killing business. They put them in places that didn't have the pedestrian volume or alternate access for shoppers (ie: public transit). In Vancouver, I can think of two streets that should have pedestrian only zones in certain sections: Robson Street and Granville Street. Closer to my neck of the woods, the one-way section of Fraser Highway would be a great place to try a pedestrian only zone during select times on the weekend.

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