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Old 01-08-2014, 09:46 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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I was on another forum, and someone cited interesting links here and here.

The bottom lines are as follows, from the second link.

Quote:
Pedestrian malls in the United States have an 89% rate of failure. Most have been removed or repurposed.

Only 11% have been successful.

Of the 11% successful pedestrian malls, 80% are in areas with populations under 100,000.

Certain indicators need to be present for a pedestrian mall to be successful in the United States:

Attached to a major anchor such as a university (i.e. Boulder)

Situated in close proximity to a beach (i.e. Miami, Santa Monica)

Designed to be a short length in terms of blocks (1-4 blocks long)

Located in a community with a population under 100,000 (i.e. New Bedford, MA)

Located in a major tourist destination (i.e. Las Vegas, New Orleans)

Cities that have transformed their abandoned pedestrian malls into “Complete,” “Main” Streets have experienced turnarounds in their downtowns with more investment, higher occupancy rates and more pedestrian traffic. 90% of these cities see significant improvements in occupancy rates, retail sales, property values and private sector investment in the downtown area when streets are restored.
This honestly does not surprise me. One caveat to consider though (discussed in the first link), is pedestrian malls were historically designed to approximate shopping malls, not European-only pedestrian streets. Often cities tried to put them in areas with few residents in walking distance (downtown, for example) and/or surrounded them by moats of parking. They may be more successful in small cities, and in university settings, because there is typically much more natural foot traffic in said areas.

Basically, you can't have walkable without mixed-use, for the most part.
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Old 01-08-2014, 10:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post

Often cities tried to put them in areas with few residents in walking distance (downtown, for example) and/or surrounded them by moats of parking. They may be more successful in small cities, and in university settings, because there is typically much more natural foot traffic in said areas.

Basically, you can't have walkable without mixed-use, for the most part.
They failed because cities tried to force them where they should not be. Mixed used not so important. I mean the Dyamite factory, Grammer School, and Slaughter house are not going to be there.

They work in thoose instances becuase there are people to use them and it is built on the right scale and walking is a reasonable method of transportation for the situation. (being a tourist, being a college student, a day at the beach ect.) and there is probably a reason for people to be walking in the area to begin with.

They fail in downtown areas because once the office workers leave for home there is no one around to use them. They fail because they may be too big to comfortably stroll/walk around(wrong scale and why 1-4 blocks works) not to mention traffic(if they decide to run busses down it like they did on State Street in Chicago in which case you couldn't walk across the street without dodging busses!).

Moats of Parking probably not the reason why they fail.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:03 AM
 
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I don't see many folks arguing for pedestrian only streets (here or elsewhere). Almost all urbanists I know of are opposed to them.

Urbanists like complex, complete, multi-modal streets and shared spaces that accommodate automobiles, transit, pedestrians and cyclists.

Although - it is wonderful to close streets occasionally to do a ciclavias. I'm a strong advocate for taking a an urban boulevard on sunday mornings in the warm parts of the year and closing it off to traffic and opening it up to everyone else.

CicLAvia | Introduction to CicLAvia

Last edited by Komeht; 01-08-2014 at 11:49 AM..
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:27 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
This honestly does not surprise me. One caveat to consider though (discussed in the first link), is pedestrian malls were historically designed to approximate shopping malls, not European-only pedestrian streets. Often cities tried to put them in areas with few residents in walking distance (downtown, for example) and/or surrounded them by moats of parking. They may be more successful in small cities, and in university settings, because there is typically much more natural foot traffic in said areas.

Basically, you can't have walkable without mixed-use, for the most part.
Pedestrian only streets are fairly common in the centers of UK cities, usually for shopping streets. I doubt the bulk of the visitors arrive by foot, they're meant for the entire city / metro. There just aren't enough local residents. In most downtown shopping areas, the majority of shoppers cannot drive and park in front of the shops, they must walk a bit. So why does have the street with the shops open to cars matter so much? Pedestrian shopping street in a small (pop 250,000) British city:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Abing...28.88,,0,-3.38

There's a bunch of parking garages in the area.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:30 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
They fail in downtown areas because once the office workers leave for home there is no one around to use them.
Why won't shoppers make a trip to downtown?

Quote:
They fail because they may be too big to comfortably stroll/walk around(wrong scale and why 1-4 blocks works) not to mention traffic(if they decide to run busses down it like they did on State Street in Chicago in which case you couldn't walk across the street without dodging busses!).
Fulton St in Brooklyn is closed to cars for about 4 blocks but open to buses. It works well:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Fulto...312.03,,0,5.48

No one has seriously considered reopening it to cars.
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:18 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Boulder fits several categories, ie, college town; short (it's about 4 blocks east to west); in a city <100,000 (Boulder JUST topped that this year, and the mall has been around for >30 years); major tourist destination.

The 16th St. Mall in Denver is doing well, AFAIK.
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
They failed because cities tried to force them where they should not be. Mixed used not so important. I mean the Dyamite factory, Grammer School, and Slaughter house are not going to be there.
I was using mixed use in the sense that residential development needs to be fairly close to the commercial street. People seldom talk about industrial zoning in an urban environment these days in general, since so little industrial property is left.

But I think you're right that in specific tourist-heavy circumstances pedestrian streets can also work out despite no nearby residential areas. Of course, the vast majority of cities cannot expect to draw massive amounts of people to their downtown.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Pedestrian only streets are fairly common in the centers of UK cities, usually for shopping streets. I doubt the bulk of the visitors arrive by foot, they're meant for the entire city / metro. There just aren't enough local residents. In most downtown shopping areas, the majority of shoppers cannot drive and park in front of the shops, they must walk a bit. So why does have the street with the shops open to cars matter so much? Pedestrian shopping street in a small (pop 250,000) British city:
I don't have a good answer to this. Perhaps the U.S. racial paranoia in the mid/late 20th century played a role in why pedestrian-only streets failed? Most successful ones I know of are in smaller towns which have relatively low minority (particularly black) population.

It may also help that these roads were built for the human scale of walking as well. Many attempted pedestrian malls in the U.S. are overly wide, as they were originally constructed with cars (or at least streetcars) in mind.
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:32 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post

It may also help that these roads were built for the human scale of walking as well. Many attempted pedestrian malls in the U.S. are overly wide, as they were originally constructed with cars (or at least streetcars) in mind.
To deal with the extra width, you use the extra space for landscaping, seating areas or other ideas (public art, if the city has money, for example).

Anyhow, if downtown already is or turning into a shopping destination then a pedestrian mall can do well. If it's not, and many American downtowns were declining in the later part of the 20th century, then the pedestrian mall would do badly.
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:38 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I was using mixed use in the sense that residential development needs to be fairly close to the commercial street. People seldom talk about industrial zoning in an urban environment these days in general, since so little industrial property is left.

But I think you're right that in specific tourist-heavy circumstances pedestrian streets can also work out despite no nearby residential areas. Of course, the vast majority of cities cannot expect to draw massive amounts of people to their downtown.



I don't have a good answer to this. Perhaps the U.S. racial paranoia in the mid/late 20th century played a role in why pedestrian-only streets failed? Most successful ones I know of are in smaller towns which have relatively low minority (particularly black) population.

It may also help that these roads were built for the human scale of walking as well. Many attempted pedestrian malls in the U.S. are overly wide, as they were originally constructed with cars (or at least streetcars) in mind.
Oh, for God's sake! Talk about "correlation does not equal causation". So people were willing to shop in a regular downtown with other races but not at a pedestrian mall?
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Anyhow, if downtown already is or turning into a shopping destination then a pedestrian mall can do well. If it's not, and many American downtowns were declining in the later part of the 20th century, then the pedestrian mall would do badly.
To an extent I agree, insofar as these projects tended to happen in the "bad days" of urban renewal, when cities were on the decline for a host of reasons. However, why do "classic downtowns" today go into recovery when they are converted away from being a pedestrian mall and back into a mixed-use street then?

Even if you argue that their failures within the U.S. were more a result of correlation than causation (e.g., they happened when cities were already declining for the most part), that still means that at best pedestrian malls provide no tangible benefits to development.
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