Urban Detail (i)

Enough of multi-part stories touring European housing projects. Let’s switch to somethings much briefer, more immediately rewarding.

Thus starts a new series of very short stories showing only a few details of good (or occasionally bad) urban design that might inspire us to do better, or even to appreciate what good things we do have.

I am going to downplay where the details were observed, because the object is focus on the idea or innovation or implementation itself. However, all the ideas are from a trip last fall to four European countries.

Seeing these pictures on your cellphone isn’t going to be very edifying. Try to use a desktop monitor to see the pictures in 22″ glory.

First up … big city cycling infrastructure. Ottawans are right to call for better infrastructure but the era of other cities automatically being better than us no long applies.

Take a look at how tight these facilities are. This narrow cycling track approaches a crosswalk:

One curbside car lane replaced with a second ( ! ) line of trees, cycle track, and wider pedestrian space:

Tight fit behind a bus shelter (who says we couldn’t have fit a cycle track down Rideau Street?):

Countdown to next bus makes taking transit easier and more confident (bus 30 in 2 minutes; bus 31 in 0 minutes, special Night bus time not shown as the metro was open):

Green markings where a cycle track crosses a busy intersection (uses 50% less of the expensive mac tac than we use):

Spot the contra-flow bike lane …

Narrowed street only for delivery vehicles in one direction and cycles in both directions:

Wide street being calmed, one traffic lane removed and bidirectional cycle track installed:

The equivalent to our advance green cycle box that brings cyclists to the forefront of the intersection are not painted green here. And they get the same amount of respect from motorists are our solid green boxes do …

Everywhere, cycle tracks and lanes make great delivery truck parking spaces. After all, they’re aren’t occupied by a bike right now so what’s the harm??


All pictures are Paris, Fr in Sept 2018.