Author Topic: My city's new car free district!  (Read 2091 times)

Nederstash

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My city's new car free district!
« on: March 10, 2021, 02:38:36 AM »
Not personal badassity, but I'm proud all the same. My city, Utrecht, is developing a 'low car' district of 10,000 homes and I found out that The Guardian did an article on it last year!

It's not exactly car free, but with only 1 parking space per 3 households, use of a car is heavily discouraged. Parking spaces are going to be majorly expensive. There are only 4 dead-end streets for car use. There will be 300 shared cars for residents. There will be new bridges towards the neighbourhood in the east (where I live, hi!), which pissed off the local rowing teams, but they will be for bikes and pedestrians only. An estimated 14,000 bikes a day will use these bridges.

The new district will be serviced by bus and bike lanes. Package delivery is contained to two drop-off points in the north and south, with light electric vehicles available to help with the heavier items. All buildings will have either solar panels or green roofs, plus there will be lots of greenery outside. Car and bike parking and garbage will be underground.

Of course emergency vehicles still have access, bike lanes are wide and unobstructed. Just not for normal car use.

This new part of the city is looking great, I'll be eager to see it come to life!

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/15/forward-thinking-utrecht-builds-car-free-district-for-12000-people
Latest news article in Dutch: https://www.rtvutrecht.nl/nieuws/2146886/utrecht-blijft-bij-oorspronkelijk-plan-10-000-woningen-in-merwedekanaalzone-en-extra-bruggen.html

Ricochet

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2021, 07:15:14 AM »
That's a really good idea, and would work in certain areas with condensed housing and way too many cars. Would it work in most US cities... no, but you guys are way ahead of us in terms of city planning. That is badass.

dougules

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2021, 12:04:37 PM »
It's so great to see your city leading the way for the rest of the world.  Maybe some day the rest of us will catch on. 

GreenToTheCore

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2021, 01:44:43 PM »
@Nederstash  I've had your city on my slow-travel list ever since I saw this planning video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Boi0XEm9-4E

Your city is just such an inspiration and I can't wait for travel plans to get ​back on track!
Keep the city updates coming :)

soccerluvof4

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2021, 04:42:06 AM »
Love it. So many communities could do something like this and should wherever possible. Especially smaller communities with adjustments and green space this would be so easy to achieve. 
« Last Edit: March 27, 2021, 04:43:42 AM by soccerluvof4 »

jpdx

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2021, 01:08:34 AM »
Just watched the StreetFilm. I would love to visit Utrecht, but I'm worried I'd never want to leave.

Nederstash

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2021, 08:38:07 AM »
@Nederstash  I've had your city on my slow-travel list ever since I saw this planning video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Boi0XEm9-4E

Your city is just such an inspiration and I can't wait for travel plans to get ​back on track!
Keep the city updates coming :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fePpwYCs_JM
The four lane road that was turned back into water is thriving! Everything is starting to turn green again, people are kayaking and paddleboarding around. Way better use of space, if you ask me. I'm lucky I live here <3

GreenToTheCore

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2021, 04:10:36 PM »
@Nederstash I hold you accountable for me daydreaming the rest of the afternoon. Nice work on picking such a great place to live :)

dougules

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2021, 10:28:33 AM »
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like this is relatively close to the center of Utrecht.  When cities in the US try to build dense developments, there sometimes is a tendency to put them on the outskirts where they are kind of isolated.  Do you think this will be well integrated into the rest of Utrecht, or do you think it will be more of a pedestrian island off on its own?

Nederstash

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2021, 03:07:14 PM »
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like this is relatively close to the center of Utrecht.  When cities in the US try to build dense developments, there sometimes is a tendency to put them on the outskirts where they are kind of isolated.  Do you think this will be well integrated into the rest of Utrecht, or do you think it will be more of a pedestrian island off on its own?

Depending on where you are in that neighbourhood, it's 10-15 minutes by bike to our lovely Domtoren, the church that marks downtown. The city has fantastic shops, restaurants and bars, so if you DON'T go there, you are absolutely nuts. Most people will either work or study in the city, which they can reach by bike or bus. Or they'll hop on their bike to the central station (5-10 minutes), which is between this development and the city center.

Everything is quite close together and the city is just lovely. Like the rest of us, the residents there will exercise in one of the parks or by one of the canals and pop down center for a beer.

Nederstash

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2021, 03:10:06 PM »
@Nederstash I hold you accountable for me daydreaming the rest of the afternoon. Nice work on picking such a great place to live :)

I was lucky to be born just 12 miles away and just choosing the nearest university to study, LOL. Sometimes you just luck out!

GreenToTheCore

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2021, 01:38:48 PM »
@Nederstash I hold you accountable for me daydreaming the rest of the afternoon. Nice work on picking such a great place to live :)

I was lucky to be born just 12 miles away and just choosing the nearest university to study, LOL. Sometimes you just luck out!

That's fantastic :)

mwulff

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2021, 12:37:09 AM »
That looks amazing and really improves the quality of life for the residents. The Netherlands has always been one of my favourite destinations when I travel.

I mean who doesn't love a quiet sunday morning early in Amsterdam with the mixed smells of last nights parties, the canals and the Amstel flowing.

Before Covid hit my wife and I were planning to visit Maastricht again and spend a few days walking the historic city center.

Your post just put Utrecht squarely on our "visit very soon" list.

Here's to hoping that the Utrecht example is adopted by many more cities. Cities should be for people, not for cars.

windytrail

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2021, 06:18:03 PM »
https://culdesac.com/ --- a planned car free development in Arizona. Apparently the waitlist is full. Maybe one of us has to create our own in the States?

« Last Edit: April 06, 2021, 06:37:27 PM by windytrail »

Nederstash

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2021, 07:50:28 AM »
That looks amazing and really improves the quality of life for the residents. The Netherlands has always been one of my favourite destinations when I travel.

I mean who doesn't love a quiet sunday morning early in Amsterdam with the mixed smells of last nights parties, the canals and the Amstel flowing.

Before Covid hit my wife and I were planning to visit Maastricht again and spend a few days walking the historic city center.

Your post just put Utrecht squarely on our "visit very soon" list.

Here's to hoping that the Utrecht example is adopted by many more cities. Cities should be for people, not for cars.

Shoot me a PM if you decide to come here, I'll buy you guys a beer!

Nederstash

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2021, 07:52:40 AM »
https://culdesac.com/ --- a planned car free development in Arizona. Apparently the waitlist is full. Maybe one of us has to create our own in the States?

Oh wow this looks amazing! It's great that there's such a lot of demand, hopefully that means there will be many more developments in the future!

dougules

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2021, 10:50:11 AM »
https://culdesac.com/ --- a planned car free development in Arizona. Apparently the waitlist is full. Maybe one of us has to create our own in the States?

That looks pretty nice, although it's kind of weird that they call it "Culdesac."  That conjures up images of endless miles of asphalt to me.   

RWD

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2021, 11:50:02 AM »
https://culdesac.com/ --- a planned car free development in Arizona. Apparently the waitlist is full. Maybe one of us has to create our own in the States?

That looks pretty nice, although it's kind of weird that they call it "Culdesac."  That conjures up images of endless miles of asphalt to me.   

Especially since it appears that it will be located in a standard city block instead of a more suburban-like area known for cul-de-sacs.

windytrail

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2021, 04:09:09 PM »
https://culdesac.com/ --- a planned car free development in Arizona. Apparently the waitlist is full. Maybe one of us has to create our own in the States?

That looks pretty nice, although it's kind of weird that they call it "Culdesac."  That conjures up images of endless miles of asphalt to me.   

Especially since it appears that it will be located in a standard city block instead of a more suburban-like area known for cul-de-sacs.

According to the NYTimes articled linked from the site, they are looking at metro areas of Denver, Washington, Dallas, Atlanta, and Raleigh, N.C. as future sites of development, with the common element of being located several miles away from the central business district while still in close proximity to a train station.

Because these developments would be illegal in much of the country's residential areas (which mandate single family homes only or parking minimums for apartments), they will likely require buy-in from city governments for a zoning variance. This means that coastal cities such as NYC, SF, and SEA will probably not be viable areas for car-free developments, due to onerous building regulations and the outsized influence of NIMBYs.


dougules

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2021, 11:37:19 AM »
https://culdesac.com/ --- a planned car free development in Arizona. Apparently the waitlist is full. Maybe one of us has to create our own in the States?

That looks pretty nice, although it's kind of weird that they call it "Culdesac."  That conjures up images of endless miles of asphalt to me.   

Especially since it appears that it will be located in a standard city block instead of a more suburban-like area known for cul-de-sacs.

According to the NYTimes articled linked from the site, they are looking at metro areas of Denver, Washington, Dallas, Atlanta, and Raleigh, N.C. as future sites of development, with the common element of being located several miles away from the central business district while still in close proximity to a train station.

Because these developments would be illegal in much of the country's residential areas (which mandate single family homes only or parking minimums for apartments), they will likely require buy-in from city governments for a zoning variance. This means that coastal cities such as NYC, SF, and SEA will probably not be viable areas for car-free developments, due to onerous building regulations and the outsized influence of NIMBYs.

I hope that the legislation from Minneapolis and Oregon catch on.  American cities are being strangled by endless miles of single-family homes on large lots with residents who vehemently oppose even the smallest change.  I once sat through a city council meeting here where a developer was planning to build a new development.  The development was for fairly upscale housing, and was the development was already approved.  The developer was just trying to get a variance to reduce the setback of the houses from the street to increase the amount of common area behind the houses.  He didn't want to add any units or make any other changes.  I sat through the residents of the adjacent neighborhood ranting furiously for 3 hours just over a tiny change to an already approved plan.  The best part was when one guy went on and on about drainage when shorter driveways and larger ponds would improve that.  I now have no doubts as to why housing is expensive in the US or why we can't have nice areas like they have in the Netherlands.

GreenToTheCore

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2021, 06:28:51 PM »
https://culdesac.com/ --- a planned car free development in Arizona. Apparently the waitlist is full. Maybe one of us has to create our own in the States?

I am quite entertained by this, I grew up in that exact area.  Good on them for trying. It is quite close to the canal system that doubles as biking routes. Poorly connected but you gotta start somewhere.

dougules

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2021, 09:20:27 AM »
https://culdesac.com/ --- a planned car free development in Arizona. Apparently the waitlist is full. Maybe one of us has to create our own in the States?

I am quite entertained by this, I grew up in that exact area.  Good on them for trying. It is quite close to the canal system that doubles as biking routes. Poorly connected but you gotta start somewhere.

I don't know much about the area, but just from the map it looks like it's right next to a rail stop.  Is that new?

GreenToTheCore

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Re: My city's new car free district!
« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2021, 03:32:28 PM »
https://culdesac.com/ --- a planned car free development in Arizona. Apparently the waitlist is full. Maybe one of us has to create our own in the States?

I am quite entertained by this, I grew up in that exact area.  Good on them for trying. It is quite close to the canal system that doubles as biking routes. Poorly connected but you gotta start somewhere.

I don't know much about the area, but just from the map it looks like it's right next to a rail stop.  Is that new?

Eh, new-ish.
Think less of a European rail system and more like a baby attempt to begin some sort of non-bus public transport. The route is one short spine in the middle of a huge sprawling metropolitan area. So people would need to drive to a rail stop, then hope that where they're going is along that spine. There's the airport (but it drops you at the furthest corner where you have to walk through a huge parking structure to get to the edge of one terminal so the most folks see it as insurmountable) and downtown does have the baseball stadium (anyone remember good ol' BOB?).
But then they're already in their cars so they just continue to drive to where they want to go. Phoenix folk love their cars.

If they could actually implement the whole system/route plan then it would be great but it's been 13 years and very little has been added to the original route. Public opposition has been full of the classic NIMBYs and anti-public services arguments. Phoenix folk love their cars.

« Last Edit: April 09, 2021, 03:36:24 PM by GreenToTheCore »