Tel Aviv Yafo

Tel Aviv Yafo

Ben Gurion Avenue, Tel Aviv Yafo, one of the city's green corridors

Ben Gurion Avenue, Tel Aviv Yafo, one of the city’s green corridors

I visited Tel Aviv Yafo as part of my work reviewing the CIVITAS 2move2 project in late March. I’d never been to Israel before and it was very interesting and nice. The weather was fantastic, sunny and about 20 degrees for our whole visit.

Tel-o-Fun bike sharing in Tel Aviv Yafo

Tel-o-Fun bike sharing in Tel Aviv Yafo

The goal of CIVITAS is for cities to demonstrate a set of innovative sustainable transportation measures and then evaluate how well they worked so that other cities can learn from their experience. Groups of cities work together to implement similar measures and learn from each other. In Tel Aviv we saw measures for electro mobility, improved traffic control, bus priority, green corridors and bike systems. Our hosts from the city took us on tours to see these innovative ideas.

One of my favourite projects is the green corridors. I learned that the noted city planner Patrick Geddes had developed the original plan for Tel Aviv and had included green corridors around the city. We walked and rode bikes on several of these corridors and they are really wonderful. They reminded me of the parkways in my hometown of Buffalo NY planned by Frederick Law Olmsted. There are one-way streets (one parking lane and one travel lane) on both sides of a wide landscaped median. The median contains a bike path, pedestrian path, play areas, and cafes at the main cross streets (see photo). These corridors are very pleasant and well used, they would be a great model for modern cities!

Pedestrian wayfinding sign in Tel Aviv Yafo

Pedestrian wayfinding sign in Tel Aviv Yafo

We also had a very nice tour of Tel Aviv’s White City. This is the part of Tel Aviv developed in the early 1920s (planned by Geddes). It contains over 2,000 Bauhaus (International Style) buildings. Many of these buildings need renovation, and the city is working on making this happen by working with owners to develop economically possible renovation plans. This portion of the city was recently designated a world cultural site by UNESCO.

Of course, the beach is also nice!

My photos of Tel Aviv on Flickr.

My photos of Jerusalem on Flickr – it’s only about an hour away by bus!

Vienna public involvement in transport app development

Vienna public involvement in transport app development

Meine Radspur Application Vienna Austria

meine-radspur is a GIS app developed in Vienna that tracks the routes used by bicyclists. Riders can indicate hazards and places that need improvements later.

I’m organising a roundtable discussion on using social applications (social networks, crowd sourced reporting, online games, wikis, and other tools) for helping improve sustainable transport.

We’ll start by identifying existing applications and then brainstorm ideas for Vienna (and beyond). If there’s interest we’ll organise a group to develop a real application or two. If you have questions or good examples to include in the presentation please contact me (andy@andynash.com).

When: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 … 18:30 – 20:30
Where: The Impact HUB Vienna, Lindengasse 56, 1070 Vienna

Please register here (free): https://sustainabletransportslot.eventbrite.com/

Good biking requires good traffic engineering

Good biking requires good traffic engineering

The intersection of Maria-Theresien-Strasse and Franz-Josefs-Quai in Vienna is a good example of where the streets prioritise movement of automobiles over pedestrians and bikes.

The intersection of Maria-Theresien-Strasse and Franz-Josefs-Quai in Vienna is a good example of where the streets prioritise movement of automobiles over pedestrians and bikes.

Vienna’s working hard on making the city better for biking and walking, but it’s a difficult job. There are many places, like the intersection above, where the streets and traffic signals have been designed to move traffic, bikes and pedestrians are accommodated, but not a priority. This is a situation that needs to change if the city is to be successful at making transport more sustainable and the city more liveable.

Many streets and intersections in Vienna need to be rebuilt to improve conditions for pedestrians and bikes – but this often comes at the expense of automobile traffic. That’s too bad, but the priority today must be given to pedestrians and bikes if we are to create more sustainable cities. And, the evidence from many cities is that reducing automobile traffic doesn’t hurt the economy, in fact building better bike lanes and sidewalks can actually increase business.

Making these kinds of improvements requires two things: desire and design. City transport departments must want to go from moving cars to moving people and they need good designers who understand the fine points of traffic engineering. The intersection shown above is a good example: it’s a very complicated intersection: two very busy one-way streets with a two-way tram line turning across the intersection. The traffic engineers have done a good job for cars and trams, but it’s not so good for bikes and pedestrians who have to cross between several islands with different traffic signals. Also important to note is that the intersection is on path between the Ringstrasse bike lane and the Donau Canal bike lane, so its used by many bikers.

It’s a complex problem that can’t be easily solved. But improving these types of intersections to be more bike-friendly will be critical if Vienna is to meet its goal of increasing bike use.

Vienna St Ulrich’s Platz urban sledding

Vienna St Ulrich’s Platz urban sledding

This sign says that snow will not be cleared from the pedestrian area to allow people to sled here.

This sign says that snow will not be cleared from the pedestrian area to allow people to sled here.

The first in a series of photos showing some of the things that make Vienna such a great place to live.

This one says that the snow is not being shovelled in this location so that people can use the area for sledding. It’s a pedestrian area around St Ulrich’s church in the Neubau District (7. Bezirk). It snowed today so I’ll try to get an action photo!

Well, it snowed a lot last night and I was able to get the photo below at “sledding rush hour” about 3:30 pm on Saturday afternoon. As you can see the hill is busy and everyone seemed to be having a great time.

If you want to see more, check out my flickr set Snow in Vienna. Just one of my many sets of photos from Vienna … here’s a link to my flickr collection of photo sets from Vienna.

Sledding on St Ulrich's Platz Vienna, February 23, 2013.

Sledding on St Ulrich’s Platz Vienna, February 23, 2013.

But, what about the beer?

But, what about the beer?

Munich Victualmarkt Feb08-08

Beer from wooden keg, der Pshorr, Munich, from my flickr Munich photos.

Monocle recently ranked Munich the world’s most livable city. I love Munich and I think that the Monocle video presents a very nice view of the city.

I was particularly struck by the comments from BMW’s head of design, Adrian van Hooydonk. In the video he says Munich doesn’t take energy from you (the way living in many cities does) but gives you energy (about 3 minutes into the video). I remember thinking something similar when I first visited in the 1980s … waiting for the U-Bahn, which was clean, fast and reliable as clockwork, I thought how nice it must be not to have to worry about public transport … a real difference from most big cities. This frees up energy for creativity.


My only complaint about the Monocle video is that it did not mention beer, and, for me at least, the beer in Munich tastes better than anywhere in the world. My posts and recommendations for Munich.

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