Wellington: “Progress is hard!” Other cities: “Hold my beer”
As Wellington twitches with frustration about the future of its transport, other cities are rolling their sleeves up, leaning into the challenges and making stunning progress. These webinars are a must-hear.
Block party time
Just this month Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau announced the city’s newest and biggest “superblock”; 21 streets in Barcelona’s Eixample district where you can’t drive through – general traffic is restricted to the perimeter and the internal streets are car-free. Essentially a low traffic neighbourhood on steroids, Xavier will be calling in tonight to provide some great insights about this transformational process.
Barcelona is also leading the pack with safer school environments, and is set to reduce or remove traffic outside 22 schools and learning centres by the end of the year through the Protegim les Escoles programme, meaning that 8,484 kids will have new places in the city to play.
If you want to join in digitally for what will no doubt be an awesome kōrero, hop onto this link at 7pm TODAY (2nd Dec) https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUuduiorT0sHNEsm4CECP7GBP5Qz-69izRJ
Otherwise you’re welcome to come watch with other nerds at the Isthmus Office! Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/xavier-matillatactical-interventions-in-barcelona-tickets-130318972555
Feel the flow
The Ghent Circulation Plan did something incredibly controversial: it divided the city of Ghent into six big car free zones, forcing people driving from one section to another to take the city’s inner ring-road, instead of driving through the local streets. In effect, the streets were given back to the people overnight.
The plan completely changed the way nearly every resident got around the city, and has hit high targets in terms of mode shift – with cycling trips increasing from 22% to 35%. For more context before the webinar, this StreetFilms video gives great insight into how they did it.
The Politician’s story – from pilloried to celebrated (and re-elected)
Filip Watteeuw, the deputy mayor of Mobility, Public Domain and Urban Planning in Ghent, Belgium since 2019, will be dialling in on the 8th. In his first term, as the deputy mayor of Mobility and Public Works he initiated the Plan. The predictable hue and cry resulted, and once people realised how good it was… they re-elected him!
An awesome story of re-election after the implementation of this plan is proof that even the most controversial changes can gain support over time.
Register here for the Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcuceyuqTsrHt3aLUre99-gPTNikpVMcPX3
Barcelona Superblock – Barcelona Digital City
Filip Wattteeuw Event – Innovating Streets