A Citywide Prescription for Livable Streets

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"Streets to Live By" marshals data from several cities to make the case for investing in livable streets in New York.

Today Transportation Alternatives released "Streets to Live By" [PDF], the report previewed last week in the Observer. It seeks to define what makes a street livable and to synthesize a broad range of data, culled from numerous cities, on the effects of policies that put pedestrians first.

This doc is a big one, and we're still sifting through it. An early impression: The evidence gathered here related to economic development, health, and social wellbeing suggests that a number of city agencies should be shepherded into the livable streets fold. From the report's recommendations:

Improvements that support livable streets, whether through new construction, street rebuilding or zoning amendments, should be the standard. Coordination and creative problem solving between these agencies, including the Department of City Planning (DCP), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Department of Design and Construction (DDC), Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and Department of Sanitation (DOS) would be best led by the DOT and the Mayor’s Office of Planning and Sustainability.

The report also names the Department of Health and the Department of Small Business Services as agencies that can forge stronger ties to a livable streets agenda, and calls for a livable streets training program aimed at the city's community boards. "We recognize that the jurisdiction of each agency only goes so far," says T.A.'s Shin-pei Tsay, "and we hope there can be greater collaboration between them."