Take Space From Cars and Give It To People (Part 1)

Seattle, WA -USA - 12/01/2020: Outdoor Dining Shelters Along Ballard Ave. For Outdoor Dining Due to Coronavirus Restrictions

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably noticed me tweet some variety of this phrase out several times over the years. It is easily one of the my top five principles when it comes to urban planning and city building.

One of the few truly good things that has come out of the pandemic has been the necessity in cities and towns to commandeer street space for outdoor dining and recreation. A lot of these programs popped up across the country a year ago, and many are being brought back or extended for the coming summer.

What I hope we’re beginning to learn is how much better these uses are for people and quality of life, and how much more efficient they are in using space in ways that are actually productive for local businesses and local tax bases.

Check out this tweet below. Look at that space! It’s looks nicer than the dining area in my house! I don’t know what an Aperol Spritz is, but I’d drink the hell out of one in there.

And that’s just a few parking spaces converted to a more productive use. Think of the possibilities for entire streets. Think of how much more enjoyable and profitable our cities and towns could be.

Now that we’ve experienced these fantastic outdoor uses for space that used to be taken up by cars, why in the world would we ever want to go back?


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