Is it still possible to promote new bicycling and walking options in harmony with vehicular traffic? Or as city space gets more limited, will planners have to take sides?
There was talk in New York recently about tearing down the Sheridan Expressway in the Bronx and replacing it with open space along the Bronx River -- about 13 acres' worth, according to the New York Times. The paper summed up the clash by calling the Sheridan "a reliable thoroughfare for truckers and an eyesore for Hunts Point residents" and saying it had become "a battleground in a national fight to take urban spaces back from the automobile." John Norquist, president of the Congress for the New Urbanism, was quoted as saying, "We're rolling back the freeway system."
Plans to raze the Sheridan hit a bump when the New York State Department of Transportation found that doing so would make local traffic worse. But we probably haven't heard the last of the broader argument.
So what's at stake here? Will cars and trucks be targeted in future urban transportation planning? Should they be? Who wins or loses if auto space (lanes or even whole roads) is turned over to bicyclists or pedestrians? What cities are striking a good balance today, and what can they teach us about the future?