June 21, 2020

"This is a golden moment for the movement known as tactical urbanism."

"More than 200 cities have already announced road closings in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of cities have yet to act in any bold way, however. If they do not, they may miss what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.... Cities are finding they can make bold moves to accommodate all the new bikers and walkers because the drivers who would normally object to street closings are hunkered down in their homes.... Most of the road closures announced so far have been billed as temporary, meant to last until the pandemic loosens its grip.... What can cities do to make sure they hold on to the recent gains as the economy reopens?... The basic idea [of tactical urbanism] is to show people the benefits of a change, however temporary, in order to shift the political dynamic in favor of a more permanent alteration.... Now is the moment for cities to imagine that future and start willing it into being."

From "Take Back the Streets From the Automobile/With people hunkered down at home, cities should act quickly to find a better balance between cars and pedestrians and cyclists" by Justin Gillis (an environmental reporter) and Heather Thompson (a transportation planner).

53 comments:

madAsHell said...

Wasn't this an episode of "Portlandia"?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Whatever the data, it proves my point.
Whatever the crisis, it is an opportunity to make everyone do things my way.

Achilles said...

More democrats trying to turn us into a third world country.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Never let a crisis go to waste.

Dave Begley said...

Closing city streets is totally Phuced.

Chris Lopes said...

The golden moment to show how antibusiness and inconvenient a city can be, because there aren't enough people leaving them now. Logic is not their strong point.

Mark said...

the drivers who would normally object to street closings are hunkered down in their homes

The drivers who would normally object are moving the hell out of the city, if they have not done so already -- and they have a lot of company.

daskol said...

This is why we can’t have nice things, because shitty little tyrants like these fuckheads are always waiting in the wings to take advantage. It’s nice to close streets once in a while and have a street fair, which is where tactical urbanists got their foothold. Then it’s all, well, you closed the street for a fair so it’s obviously not crucial to traffic, so let’s closer it every weekend. Then, and this is pre-pandemic, it takes 20 minutes to get across the neighborhood to get to the BQE because random streets, empty, are closed off.

Fernandinande said...

What can cities do to make sure they hold on to the recent gains as the economy reopens?

Closing roads is not a gain, it's a phuced up loss.

tactical urbanism

tactical - relating to or constituting actions carefully planned to gain a specific military end.

IOW, tactical urbanism = not voluntary, and by force rather than by choice.

Jess said...

That's fine, but let those that live in those areas foot the bill. All other citizens, and those that are not citizens that only work in those areas, should not be required to furnish any tax money for the endeavor. If they get what they want, fine. If not, they'll realize how far they've stuck their heads up their butts.

jaydub said...

I like the car free pedestrian zones in most cities and towns in Europe, but their center cities are mostly compact and public transportation is designed to support the concept. Just changing the rules regarding cars without adding the required infrastructure would be a disaster for downtown merchants. Of course, if most of the downtown merchants had already been burned out in a BLM riot it wouldn't matter so much because there wouldn't be a reason to come downtown. So, Madison could probably make it work.

carrie said...

The gas tax paid for a lot of the roads. Wait until they try to impose an annual bike tax to pay for the use of the roads.

I'm Full of Soup said...

Let me guess- he is probably a journalism major who has spent a few years reporting as an alleged expert in the environment and she was a communications or polisci majr who got a job in city govt? So neither of them knows shit. Am I close?

narciso said...

tactical urbanism in action,

https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nicholas-fondacaro/2020/06/21/cbss-pauley-gushes-cuomo-having-moment-and-single

jaydub said...

Regarding my earlier comment about European walking streets, they also work because they don't have the same pedestrian obstacles as we do. Would have to do something about that as well to make them work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9-qRGRlpVM

Michael K said...

Another incentive to leave the city.

MadTownGuy said...

The more people forced into city living and for whom personal transportation isn't an option, it'll be so much easier to control them.

Gahrie said...

In about six months the crisis of the week in going be White flight.

MayBee said...

I wonder to whom this movement is known as "tactical urbanism". Sounds very in-groupish.

steve uhr said...

It makes sense. After the pandemic more people will be working at home than before the pandemic. Less cars during rush hour. So they don’t need as many lanes as before.

narciso said...

largely he's the times skydragon worshiper, along with coral davenport,

BUMBLE BEE said...

narciso ... I can only say... Jane you ignorant slut!

Gospace said...

Pretty much anything I would say would be saying some of the above in my own words.

The second comment posted by Assistant Village Idiot pretty much says it all.

Nancy Reyes said...

uh, what about snow? Or when it's 90 degrees in the shade?
What about those of us who are elderly and can't walk or bicycle very far?
and what about this making the weak (who look like easy targets) vulnerable to being robbed by faster thugs?
we can stand outside in the rain/snow/heat to take a bus, but buses and subways are often dirty and the enclosed air space spreads viruses.

bagoh20 said...

The people who think like this are responsible for most of the deaths from Covid by pushing mass transit, crowded living, and the elimination of single use items like bags and straws, so sure lets do what they say again. If there are multiple ways to do something the left always finds or makes up the stupidest one possible, forces us to do it and then when it backfires, just doubles down. So much damage to all of us for decades, and all from one group.

BUMBLE BEE said...

The harried shopkeepers will be burdened with more trash, shoplifting and the perils of public toiletry. Seen it happen in two yuppie paradises. The planners don't have to make a living on the streets. Available parking will be stressed. Restaurants receive a stake thru the heart. Saw that too.

chuck said...

"They make a desert and call it peace" :) Anyway, not my problem, let them ride bikes.

Tomcc said...

Capital idea! Then we wall off the city and fill it with water.
Seattle is experiencing the results of progressive city management and Portland is teetering on the edge of the same precipice. I'm content to let the progs have the cities and I'll guard my suburb...vigorously.

Skeptical Voter said...

Hmm "tactical urbanism"? When I saw that--and when I saw the rioting, looting and burning in the streets, I thought this clown was talking about concealred carry for self protection.
That's what's needed in places like CHAX or C?HOP or whatever it's calling itself these days. When there are no police to maintain order, it's every Glock carrier for his or her self.

Skeptical Voter said...

Hmm "tactical urbanism"? When I saw that--and when I saw the rioting, looting and burning in the streets, I thought this clown was talking about concealred carry for self protection.
That's what's needed in places like CHAX or C?HOP or whatever it's calling itself these days. When there are no police to maintain order, it's every Glock carrier for his or her self.

Gk1 said...

The blue morons are trying to do this in downtown Petaluma but the town fathers aren't having any of it, so far. They are willing to close off a street for an antique fair every so often but have ample data on how if affects the businesses that require easy parking and street access. Also not everyone can afford to laze around and eat $14 entrees and $8 cocktails while sitting under rickety, ad hoc tables set up in the street. These people need a reality check.

Cincinnatus said...

Urban planners all seem to hate the people who must live in the "utopia" they are creating.

Birkel said...

I am quite enjoying the Leftist big cities destroying themselves.
I want their tax base to shrivel and their congressional representation to decrease.

I want people who live in cities to recognize their prior assumptions cannot be applied in the suburbs.
Perhaps some will even acknowledge their hubris.

I want dozens of Detroits.

Josephbleau said...

All the cities that created downtown outdoor “malls” in the 90’s had to rip them up and replace them with streets again because the stores were going broke.

Nonapod said...

It seems to me the if the goal is to make living in cities as unpleasent as possible, between the pandemic, the riots, and now whatever the hell this is, I think the progressive urbanites may achieve it. Soon no sane person will choose to live in dense urban areas if they have any choice in the matter.

Michael said...

Nah.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Cyclists never follow the rules, so not a surprise.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Seems to me, the best way to curtail this thinking that bike riders have some sort of superior rights is to......run them over whenever they violate their lanes, as they very often do.

Oops!

tim in vermont said...

Meanwhile all the people looking at city apartments are suddenly asking about parking because they don’t want to be forced to use mass transit.

Sebastian said...

"tactical urbanism"

More riots will do the trick.

Anyway, this bike thing is ableist, ageist, and racist.

Balfegor said...

This seems like doubling down on stupid in the middle of a plague. In general, I like pedestrian-friendly changes since I am mostly a pedestrian myself. In Tokyo, they shut down the main road through Ginza to vehicular traffic on weekends, and it's quite nice. They do something similar sometimes in Shinjuku and near Akihabara, but I don't go there as often so I'm not sure whether it is every weekend. I think it's good for the shops along the main streets. But it only works because of the mass transit system. And in the US, mass transit has been disastrous in spreading coronavirus. One of the reasons "Blue" America has done so much worse than "Red" America at mitigating the spread of coronavirus is that the major urban centres are dependent on public transit, and that public transit is generally poorly managed and filthy. Cars, meanwhile, seal you off safely from the environment and other people.
Encouraging more use of public transit in the US in this environment is just irresponsible.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ I'm Full of Soup: You got Justin Gillis spot-on. Heather Thompson was originally in Biological Sciences, then went on to Environmental Economics. I could assign partial credit for that.

Nichevo said...


steve uhr said...
It makes sense. After the pandemic more people will be working at home than before the pandemic. Less cars during rush hour. So they don’t need as many lanes as before.

6/21/20, 4:50 PM


Fortune-telling part of your zoology degree? Quick, who's going to win in November, President Trump or Biden or whoever replaces Biden? Let's say that if you get the answer wrong, you don't know how many lanes they're going to need.

Static Ping said...

They seem to assume people will want to continue to live in the cities after their governments abandoned the people to the anarchists and neutered the police. Good luck with that.

The Godfather said...

So you think the future is dense urban living? After this pandemic you want to spend a significant part of your day packed into subways and busses with strangers who have come from you-don't-know-where and been with you-don't-know-who? Because you can't "walk wherever I want to go", not even if they mall-over the major shopping streets.

daskol said...

steve uhr is right about more people working from home, for a good long while, in New York, London and probably Paris. Whatever the wisdom, large organizations that have maintained productivity are not rushing to get back, besides accommodating people who have to be on site, or who haven't got a home work space. Some of that is employees and leadership reluctant to use mass transit, maybe most of it. Forget 2020 and even into 2021, whatever happens with the virus, work from home is here for many people because companies are rearranging offices to accommodate our newly discovered need for personal space at work. This usually means less than half the numbers held previously, with open plan places taking a huge hit. Even companies that want to get back to the office to build/preserve culture can appreciate the cost savings and virtue points for greening things.

But why is that a reason to use tactics, here intended to be sneaky shit that would never get approved by any community if asked? The people who live in these neighborhoods for the most part don't want it, often strongly. That's why these fuckheads have to get tactical, to get these changes through gamesmanship, because what the fuck do the people who live there know as compared to their urbanist vision. The anti-car stuff has narrow but very deep support.

daskol said...

I want dozens of Detroits.

Yikes.

Colonel Mustard said...

Gahrie said...
In about six months the crisis of the week in going be White flight.

There are two ways to react to stress/threats...Fight or flight. Flight makes sense only when you can't win the fight. Flight when you have overwhelming advantage is moronic.

tim maguire said...

A big oart of the problem, as amply demonstrated here and on other sites dominated by suburban and rural conservatives, is that too many drivers think they have some god-given right to sole possession of the road and anybody else using it does so at their forbearance and has an obligatIon to show their gratitude by staying out of the drivers way.

Hey Skipper said...

Now is the moment for cities to imagine that future and start willing it into being."

And the unwilling to start leaving.

Basil Duke said...

As with "traffic calming measures," and "road diets," the ultimate goal of this tripe is the eventual elimination of the privately owned internal combustion engine. Cars are freedom machines, and enable normal people to escape the hellish conditions created by abnormal people (left-wingers), thus, the car's got to go. Keep everybody smashed in on top of each other, and watch the commie plague fun and Antifa offenses rage in earnest. It's for the children, though, so you'd have to be a moral degenerate to oppose it.

Richard Dolan said...

Not likely how the c-virus thingy will work out. Local TV had a report on the NYC real estate market -- mostly in the tank -- but reported that apartments in buildings with available parking are getting much more traction because potential tenants/buyers want to be able to drive in their own, enclosed space to get wherever they're going.

Funny how experts habitually mistake their personal agenda for popular demand.

svlc said...

As an avid road cyclist, I think it is a bad idea to take roads away from vehicle users. Aside from the fact that people and businesses have made plans and investments around existing road space, cyclists need drivers to respect cyclists. Angering drivers does not encourage drivers to be more careful around cyclists. Rather, it generates opposition and hostility. And, as the person who will lose every conflict with a vehicle, that is not an end I want to see.