- a collection of notes and reflections on urban living from the perspective of a family of five in Tokyo. My epiphany was many years ago, but being hit by a motorbike and seeing my life flash before my eyes caused a sudden change that slowly made me reflect on whether American style auto-centric urban transportation of the Roosevelt era really is a capital G "Good Idea" for civilized modern cities in the 21st Century. This blog explores the good and the bad in urban planning and design, here and elsewhere. The goal is simple - not "death to all cars," just more walkable communities, quiet tree-lined streets, good public transport, traffic calming, Velib style bicycle sharing and a bit of common sense. The bolg is mostly theraputic, so I don't go wanting to throttle every dangerous driver I come across, but partly also out of a real desire to see positive change. This blog explores how it can be done, the people who do it, and how, in many small ways, this very old idea may at last have found its zeitgeist. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Snow and cycling

The other day it snowed in Tokyo. It snowed a lot - more than it has snowed in 8 years, according to the weather news. I love it when it snows. Tokyo is full of narrow back streets that in old times were equivalent to back-yards only better and more fun because they are shared. These days, in normal weather drivers like to treat as short cuts and fangin hoon down. Kids do still play on these streets, but parents have to be reasonably vigilant in case one of these maniacs suddenly appears on their particular side street, horn blaring and engine revving. But when it snows, oh when it snows, the back streets at least are returned to the kids, and they absolutely love it - we all do. I used to think it was just the snow, but it is so much more than that - it is the feeling of safety, peace and quite - of reclaiming the streets for the kids. I can only imagine this is how it feels on the car free days in other countries and cities. An experience to treasure, definitely. I for one will be pushing this city to establish proper car-free days.

No comments: