Pedestrianization of neighbourhoods in cities

The word “pedestrian” within the city means that it is for pedestrianuse only and can only be circulated on foot.

What does it mean to pedestrianize a neighborhood?

The pedestrianization of the neighborhoods means prioritizing pedestrians in urban centers,that is, putting people before cars.

The more walkers the cities are, the greater the bonds that are created in communities. From supporting small business,that is, the neighborhood trade of a lifetime, to getting children and adolescents to strengthen their social relationships while walking to colleges, institutes and universities.

Pedestrianizing a neighbourhood is a way to encourage exercise in people, reduce air pollution and increase the quality of life of citizens.

According to him Danish urban planner Jan Gehl,ideologue of the pedestrianization of Broadway, New york, “lack of exercise is one of the great health problems in the world, much more than tobacco. Walking is sustainable, no matter where you look at it. The car has the days numbered in the cities.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that cities be prepared to be more passable.

What are the benefits of pedestrianization of the downtown neighborhoods?

Improves pedestrian mobility

On many occasions we see how there is a decompensation between the street spaces that are intended for vehicles with the number of vehicle users in the neighborhood itself.

With the pedestrianization of the neighborhoods, these space could be redistributed more proportionately.

An example, in Times Square, New York, in 2014, before the pedestrianization process of the area, 90% of the space was for vehicles while 90% of users were pedestrians.

After the pedestrianization process, the spaces are redistributed, making them according to the volume of users in the area. This allowed for an improvement in pedestrian mobility.

Supporting neighborhood businesses

In Spain it is betting on the pedestrianization of the streets to benefit people who live in the neighborhoods, tourists and traditional shops.

In most studies conducted in cities in different countries, pedestrianized neighborhoods favor trade sales.

A neighborhood where there is no noise, no traffic and is well connected by public transport is a success for both citizens and small business. It is a neighborhood that invites you to walk and get closer to the traditional commerce.

Increased tourism

For the walking is one of the best ways to experience and live a City.

In the Trafalgar Squarearea of London,there was a 300% increase in visitors as the area was pedestrianized.

Improves people’s quality of life

This benefit is mainly for the residents of the area but also for those who visit the center.

They go from having sidewalks narrowwhere it is difficult to walk, to having wider sidewalks in which to walk more comfortably and calmly. It will improve the quality of life thanks to, as we said before, the reduction of pollution, noise and emissions.

The American Journal of Public Health pointed to the relationship between pedestrian spaces, cyclists and the low rate of obesity.

Cities with high rates of pedestrians and cyclists have levels of physical activity closer to those recommended by professionals than those with fewer pedestrian spaces.

Walking is the safest, cheapest and least polluting method of transport.

Reducing pollution levels

Eliminating the traffic of vehicles in the city centre also reduces the amount of particulate matter in the air, thus reducing the risk of pollution-related diseases.

On the other hand they also decrease the noise of the vehicles and increase the rest.

Improves road safety

A moderation of traffic, a reduction in speed, protection of pedestrians and cyclists, leads to an improvement in road safety.

More than 270,000 pedestrians die each year worldwide from road accidents.

It is more than evident that the pedestrianization of the neighborhoods and better pedestrian mobility in the city contributes to improving the quality of life of people in the cities. In addition, more livable and healthier cities are created.

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