Progress report and work plan for 2012 – For comment and finalization

The Safe Streets Challenge has been chosen as a primary focus activity over 2012.  But there is safe, and safe. So the project turns out to be a lot more challenging than it may look at first glance.

This summary is part of our in-process 2012 work plan which will be published in the coming week as part of a campaign to strengthen each of our main target programs for the year ahead. It is presently a draft and your comments and suggestions for improvement are warmly requested.

Our first  step in getting this new program underway has been to stand  back from all that we ourselves may think is true and important – and there is, we must admit, a lot of that — and see what happens if we start from a wide open neutral perspective , while making sure we keep the fundamental priorities firmly in view.  That is to say sustainable development and social justice.  (Now that is an easy enough phrase to piously mouth, but a devilishly hard one to come to grips with in the real, complex, complicated and conflicted world.  But that is exactly what we are trying to do over the course of 2012 with this program.)

The main objective for the first quarter of the year to seek out ideas and approaches from many different angles and points of view.  We call this our Big House approach.  Our ultimate  Mission is to inform and hopefully to influence government policy, companies and individual decisions and actions that can in some way help to make our streets safer.   But there is a lot of work to be done before we can get to that.

Safety in general, and safe streets in particular, are challenging concepts. In our context an important  distinction has to be made is between safe streets and safe roads. The two represent almost polar opposites in terms of many of their realities requirements. But if we give attention to both, it is quite likely that we are going  to learn valuable lessons from the other half. So, we are looking at both.

In the context of a program like World Streets, it would be reasonable to assume that we will focus on risks that are the results of the dangers caused by vehicles: excessive speed, distracted drivers, and the like. And yes we shall, but there is more to it than that. In the 2012 program we shall be looking at all three of the key dynamics: yes those vehicles, but also people and infrastructure . Likewise there will be careful attention given to the concepts of both active and passive safety.  Similarly plenty of attention is being given to what can be accomplished with technology, and while this is surely an important vector it is only one of many and one we shall keep it in its place to ensure that it does not overshadow the rest.

The program is supported by the main web site at http://Safe.worldstreets.org , on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SafeStreetStrategies and Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/safestreets2012. After just one month of activity in laying the base, we can see that the site has already attracted 1,068 followers. This strikes us as a promising beginning.

 Cities for Mobility, 2012. 

One of the principle targets of the project is  to provide background and support the 2012 Cities for Mobility Conference in Stuttgart from 1-3 July, which this year is being organized around the theme of safe streets. Our intention is to build on and integrate the considerable mass of material being generated in the next months, and via this website put it at the disposal of those attending the meeting, giving them perhaps a running start for the July morning that the doors open in Stuttgart.  Full background on the conference will shortly be available at http://www.cities-for-mobility.net

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Copies of the full draft report for all World Streets 2012 Focus Programs can be had at http://www.scribd.com/doc/80532876/World-Streets-2012-Focus-Programs

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One response to “Progress report and work plan for 2012 – For comment and finalization

  1. I guess I would make two comments:
    (1) Donald Appleyard’s study of streets in San Francisco with high traffic vs. low traffic and the impact on relationships with others on the block is a very good explanation of the impact on traffic and road width on quality of life.
    (2) Similarly, David Engwicht in _Reclaiming Our Cities and Towns: Better Living Through Less Traffic_ has an extended discussion about “exchange” (interaction of all types, not just commerce) and how traffic and road widening reduces the amount of space within communities dedicated to exchange.

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