Rearranging the Grid

As I have endlessly noted here, our city of Rochester adopted the scorched earth policy for automobility at an early moment: streetcars removed in 1941, subway demolished in 1956, expressways as our emerald necklace in the 1950s, a mid-century Inner Loop that strangled our central city, demolition of everything possible downtown in favor of parking, … Continue reading Rearranging the Grid

Portland: Can there be a detour ahead?

We are all now well schooled in the notion that Portland, Oregon is the model of current 21st century urbanism in America. Portland, at sunrise. It is a city known for its excellent transportation infrastructure, its many walkable neighborhoods, its tree lined streets, great parks, lovely historic resources, and the liberal and open culture that … Continue reading Portland: Can there be a detour ahead?

Rat Running, City Streets and the Urban Grid

Here in our city, we live on a street that is a prime conduit for zooming rush-hour traffic attempting to avoid congestion. The phenomenon is called rat running, and we have some pretty fast rats. We yell at the drivers, we write letters to the City, we try to organize our neighbors, but the street … Continue reading Rat Running, City Streets and the Urban Grid

In Delhi, but not in a car

  While it is true that Prime Minister Modi just dedicated two GIANT expressways in a city where the car is pretty much completely obsolete, it is also true that this last week the Magenta Line on Delhi's Metro Network was opened, with 25 stations. The system is new, clean, well designed, and very heavily … Continue reading In Delhi, but not in a car

If Only They Knew….

Indian Prime Minister Modi was busy on Sunday. He dedicated two expressways - the last portion of the Eastern Peripheral - a giant looping expressway that will, eventually, strangle Delhi, and a 14 lane (!!!) segment of the expressway northeast to Meerut. During the dedication he told us that these roads would curb pollution by … Continue reading If Only They Knew….

Present City, Future City: India

In the Old City, Ahmedabad. In February and March we spent a month visiting seven cities across India, from south to north, from west to east. Our time there was completely exceptional: invaluable, surprising, educational, revealing, depressing, infuriating, eye-opening and more. I continue to reflect on those days, and it has taken me until now … Continue reading Present City, Future City: India

ROC the Riverway (really – that’s what they’re calling it)

Ugh. Somehow, we seem incapable of naming any important planning or design initiative anything other than ROC. ROC is the airport code for Rochester. Must we really persist in this ROC title for our restaurants, bars, carpet cleaners, dry cleaners, home inspectors, car repair shops, bagel shops, theaters, barber shops, moving companies?... And urban design … Continue reading ROC the Riverway (really – that’s what they’re calling it)

A Short, or Even a Long History of Alleys

  My brother Doug and I got into a discussion of blocks and alleys and urbanism on this Thanksgiving Day. He writes quite wonderfully about his neighborhood in Portland, Oregon: Alameda. You can find his work here: http://www.alamedahistory.org. He said: "'I am also working on something about alleys here in northeast Portland. The earlier neighborhoods … Continue reading A Short, or Even a Long History of Alleys

Alphabet Soup

Other things are percolating here, but while they brew, here are some peeks at something I've had some fun doing: my urban infrastructure lexicon. The project began during a visit to Cutler City, Oregon, to have an art weekend with my dearest and ever-inspiring artist sister.¬†¬†With her egging me on, I started by sketching the … Continue reading Alphabet Soup