RUEs Vision For 2011

Hello lovely readers!  Welcome back from your (and our) holiday break and Happy 2011!

We here at RUE are getting ready for another year of thinking about cities and discussing how to make our urban landscapes work better for all of us.

Over the holiday break I had the good fortune of visiting the new and improved Times Square pedestrian plaza in New York – for those unaware, google it. (Please forgive the overly enthusiastic photo of yours truly – it had been about 8 hours of travel at this point and I was just excited to be back in New York and experiencing this new space first-hand.)

It was a lot of fun to see something in person that I’d read and posted a bit about.  The photos don’t totally do it justice – the place really was quite packed during our visit.

The pedestrian and bike lane projects in NYC spearheaded by DOT Commissioner Janet Sadik-Khan, nominated New Yorker of the year by NY1, haven’t been welcomed by every single New Yorker with open arms which is to be expected. However this new vision for the city seems to be a success.  People are taking advantage of the slower traffic and public seating is still at a premium. New Yorkers are soldiering on in fine fashion, which is precisely where all of this ties into RUEs vision for the coming year.

In this piece, a local New Yorker says about the Times Square pedestrian plaza:

“It’ll encourage people to drive less and walk around more. It raises awareness about alternate transportation and cleaner air. I think New Yorkers can adjust to anything…”

This simple statement about the resilience and fortitude that we associate with New Yorkers got me thinking about our overall mindset for the coming year.  In 2011, Reginans shouldn’t sell themselves short in terms of what they can handle and should take a note from Tim Gunn – “Make it work”.

This year I want to hear less complaining about 12th Avenue being closed while the new park plaza space is under construction. Sure it isn’t going exactly as planned, but few things ever do and the City has done a pretty good job balancing the challenges that they’ve been faced with.

I also want to see less projects opposed on the grounds that it will impact parking in some way. And while we’re at it, let’s also stop telling ourselves that there is a shortage of parking in the downtown too. I think we all know deep down this simply isn’t the case. We all love our wheeley machines but it wouldn’t kill us to walk a few blocks to get where we are going. We should welcome projects that are adding density to our city and we shouldn’t think that a little extra time or energy will leave us so worse for the wear.  We are made of tougher stuff than that.

Perhaps in 2011 if we spend less time complaining about a glass that may or may not be half empty, and instead adopt the mantra: “Reginan’s can adjust to anything” we might just surprise ourselves.  It’s remarkable what you can deal with when you put your mind to it. Let’s do this thing.

All the best to our readers for 2011- we can’t wait to spend another year together!


RUEs Vision For 2011

4 thoughts on “RUEs Vision For 2011

  1. wourliem says:

    I found it interesting that the buildings in your pictures appear to have a 3-4 pedestrian interface along Times Square, with larger towers set back. Is that the case along that area?

    I think it says a lot that you can find the same basic building height levels, at the side walk, as described in the Regina Downtown Plan in the commercial heart of tower-full Manhatten.

    1. The focus is kept fairly low in Times Square (with continuous storefronts), and the towers are usually covered with flashing billboards so you don’t really notice them as much. The pedestrian space you see in the photos is fairly consistent along this area though isn’t necessarily the case entirely – there are still lots of very tall buildings that go straight up (no set back), but they still do a good job of blending with the streetscape.

      More than anything, that whole area is one giant consumption spectacle (kind of beautiful, kind of horrifying).

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