I had a brainstorm with a friend a few weeks ago: why not have an area of Portland be carfree? The streets could be minimized down to bike size, gardens could grow out into where the streets used to be- the possibilities are endless! Imagine, stepping out of your house, into a place where there were no zooming cars, no stinky exhaust, kids running around everywhere, carefree, carfree, like you were in a gigantic park? Hmmm... sounds pretty friggin' rad to me! And this is just the town to do it in.
1) People who love their cars.
2) Businesses that wouldn't know what to do with themselves.
3) City ordinances/resisitance from city council.
4) Emergencies and how to deal with them.
5) Supplies, ie. food, appliances, building, etc.
6) Design of area- must be very forward thinking for growth.
I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones that came to me.
1) NO DEATHS BY CAR!
2) Low noise, pollution, aggravation.
3) Pedestrian paradise which means kids become GODS!
4) What amounts to one gigantic park with houses in it.
5) Less money spent on oil, car work, etc. I know this one seems weak but at this point in the game every little bit helps.
6) International recognition would stimulate tourism, and you know how the businesses start drooling when you talk about incresing tourism.
7) Communities strengthened, health improved, the list is literally endless, which makes me think that this would be a spiritual benefit beyond value.
What areas could this work in? I'm envisioning Ankeny maybe, or the Belmont and 33rd area or some areas up in Northeast. Imagine: starting a carless street that's near two parks- increasing the size of the carless area until it hits those parks then BOOM! It's bonus round- the area incorporates those parks and has instant growth.
Sure some business will poo-poo it, but screw them. Let them go to LA. Imagine the kinds of stores that would thrive: shoe stores, bike shops, park cafes, it's really up to the imagination. A group of intelligent people could slap something like this together and entice some savvy entrepreneurs to sponsor the whole thing!
My thought is that the best bet would be to find a sympathetic neighborhood and try to get everyone on board for at least one block, buy up all the real estate on the street and then shut that stinky-ass street DOWN!
Anyone else have any ideas? Done been tried before? What's the pitfalls, what's the hurdles, what's the impossibilities, but most of all, are there any reasons for not TRYING to do it?