Pedestrian malls

I have been taking Greyhound home from Philadelphia (a great city for walking and public transit, at least from where I slept to where I visited) with stops in Iowa City and Boulder.

I really like pedestrian malls.

Here’s a picture from Boulder, from another time of the year, but also crowded:
Boulder mall

and from Iowa City a portion mostly occupied by younger people
Iowa City kids
Iowa City kids

and others
and others

When I was looking for pictures to link to, none showed how crowded the malls are, lots of people, lots to do.

My town, Berkeley, is pedestrian-friendly, but to get that wonderful mall feeling other cities have, we’d have to what? Divert traffic on Telegraph south of the university? Divert traffic on Shattuck both south and north of University Ave?

2 Responses to “Pedestrian malls”

  1. Bob Seeley says:

    Nice photos of some very well-done malls. I love pedestrian malls, too. They can be surprisingly tricky to do well, in part because of the need to divert traffic, and in part because merchants fear they would lose business if people couldn’t drive up to their doors.

    The traffic problem isn’t really a problem. It’s the point of the exercise, and if it gets more people on the buses and trains, that is a plus. The fears of merchants are unfounded—the pedestrian precincts in Europe are very busy and prosperous and filled with high-end shops.

    Alas, Philadelphia had a pedestrian precinct on Chestnut Street, but did it wrong. The design was strange in a 1970s sort of way, and there was always bus traffic down the middle of it. Eventually they reopened it to cars. A better design and a shorter mall might have led to something more pedestrian-oriented (like the pictures), but the whole idea would go nowhere here at the moment. Too bad, because Philadelphia is a great walking city.

  2. Bob Seeley says:

    Addendum: Cape May, NJ, has a very nice pedestrian mall with shops that are open all year and are doing very nicely, thank you. It’s just been refurbished. I think it’s a good example of what a small town can do when it really gets its act together.