Slow Streets: Reflecting on our Observations from February to June 2015

Slow Streets was recently awarded Social Innovation seed funding from RADIUS and Embark
studyLast February, Slow Streets members including Simon Jay, Darren Proulx, Sam Baron, Chris Puzio, and Terry Sidhu responded to a proposal for a transportation analysis in North Burnaby along Hastings Street. The Social Innovation Seed Fund was brought to our attention shortly after and our team quickly applied in order to fund roles such as art work and report design.
Our process begins with a lot of leg work or “sweat equity” as all 5 members take time to observe the quality and environment of the street. The observations are based off of a book written by Jan Gehl, “How to Study Public Life.” Our team is able to record items such as the percentage of people shopping, walking by, boarding the bus, sitting and talking, and others. We use this information as a base to see whether a street is truly enjoyable, safe, attractive, and good for business.
hastingsThis process is rigorous to the point of gaining a sample size that we as a team can work with. During this process we illuminate the effects of having one form of transportation dominate the street. Slow Streets believes in more equitable models where those who choose to walk, cycle, transit, or drive are given equal access to the road. In our process, we examined the effect of an HOV lane that is directly adjacent to the sidewalk, and the effect of having the astonishingly high 33,000 vehicles passing through a street, not a highway. We are in the process of completing our report now and look to publish this fall.