Friday, February 1

Some Car-free Zones

I've been browsing through the wikipedia list of car-free zones around the world and reading about some of them at Carfree cities. Here are some overhead shots courtesy of Google Earth.

Plenty of pedestrian areas in Europe are preserved sections of the originally walled medieval town. Gronginen is a university town in the Netherlands. About 30,000 people live in the car-free area.

Fes-al-Bali is a medina in the city of Fes, Morocco, also of medieval origin. It's probably the most populous area without automobile use in the world.

There are also some new communities that prohibit private cars. This is Discovery Bay on Lantau island across from Hong Kong. About 14,000 people live here and it is still in the process of development.

Curitiba, Brazil is considered to be a model for transportation planning. About 20 blocks in the center of the city are for pedestrians.

A few cities in the United States have created small pedestrian malls in their centers. One of the best known is the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas.

This is Last Chance Gulch in Helena, Montana.


jhwygirl said...

They've proposed doing this, in several variations, to Jackson, Wyoming's town square - two streets, three streets, and also all 4 streets that border the town park where those famous antler arches are located.

I always supported it. Thought that it would encourage more walking and increase business for those located outside that central area.

Of course, those 'on the Square' said that they'd loose too much business, blah, blah, blah - as IF tourists could stay away from the Cowboy Bar. {{shaking head}}

I'm not sure where it could be both aesthetically and economically feasible. Any ideas on that?

jhwygirl said...

aesthetically and economically feasible in Missoula, I meant to say!

Daniel Nairn said...

That's interesting to hear about Jackson. I've spent a fair amount of time there, and I can see how that wouldn't be such a bad idea.

I personally can't think of anywhere in Missoula that would work very well for this. I've heard the Last Chance Gulch in Helena was a little troublesome economically. The city even proposed to turn it back to streets in a few years ago, but the proposal failed. I'd like to learn more about how that has worked out for them in the couple of decades since.

jhwygirl said...

Now that I think about it - Helena has tossed around the idea of 'opening up' the stream that was covered by the road that runs through Last the pedestrian street area.

Bozeman, too, has a street that paved over a stream - and that's been discussed (this summer?) too.

Higgins is the only place that comes to mind - and maybe that street that fronts Sean Kelly's?. I'd love to see that part of Missoula have a bricked street and a focus on the historic architecture that still remains in that area. With the eating establishments, bars and coffee shops, it'd be pretty neat, I think.