Pandemic クロノウィルス


For several years we have been organizing “parking day “once each year a car parking spot is used for a neighborhood park. It is a great way to take back space from the cars and remind us that the residents are the main characters in the city, but it is just one day a year.



After the pandemic had closed restaurants for several months a group of restaurant owners on 2nd avenue asked Community Board 6 to use the street in front of their restaurants for outdoor dining for their customers. Traffic is reduced, the streets are empty, and the restaurant owners are desperate to get back to serving customers- their one stretch of Second Avenue provided jobs for 600 restaurant workers. Isn’t it a brilliant idea? Our community quickly supported this idea and it became reality throughout the city this week.



It is so fantastic to see this street being used for something other than parking cars or routing trucks that are racing to leave the city. In Manhattan only 22% of the population owns a car, so where do all those other cars come from?… outside of Manhattan. This brings a fundamental question; do we really need such wide streets? Possibly, the other way around… wide streets have been inviting unnecessary traffic into the city. It was more than two centuries ago that the street width and density were determined when carriages were the main transportation. I wonder if the city designers determined the street width and network by predicting the traffic of the future. We speculate, they just dreamed of European boulevards which were not for functional reason but a demonstration of  the power of monarchies. It is believed that the current street system is a highly functional design and contributed to the prosperity of American cities, but did we really need this width?



Here you can try a thought-experiment. Imagine that the width of the street is double the current one, would it generate traffic and more prosperity? Probably the answer is that cars would pack the city until they reached a daily traffic jam, with polluted air and noise… an unsafe environment. The point is there must be a good balance, and it is something that can be designed and evaluated.

ひとつ簡単な思考実験。もし道路が今の2倍の幅があったら、渋滞も起こらず、都市もっと発展していていたであろうか?その答えはおそらく否定的… 道路渋滞が起こるまで車は増え続け、結局、今と同じ、だだし、生活環境はもっと悪くなっていたのではないだろうか?要するに、適切なバランスがあるはずで、それを計画し、設計しなければならない。


The wait staff have to navigate the bicycle lane, but so far the pedestrians, cyclists and restaurateurs have been sharing the street space.



In the past Community Board 6 had tried unsuccessfully to encourage pop up cafés on some of the smaller side streets but the pandemic has suddenly made taking over many parking spaces possible! We hope this will demonstrate the pleasure of using our public streets for other uses and that it will become a new norm in the city.

以前に第6コミュニティーボードは交通量の少ない通りの路上駐車場を排してポップアップカフェと呼ばれる路上オープンカフェを作ろうと頑張ってきた。しかし、このパンデミックは一挙に路上駐車を追い払う結果となった! 私たちの公道が車以外の用に使われて、その楽しさを見せつけることで、これからの都市の新しい標準になるのではないか?そうなりますように!


Parking day a few years ago. One of 2 dozen sites. A play is going on. 数年前のパーキングデイ、市内数十か所のうちの一つ。素人劇の最中。


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