The American car sharing company Lyft has partnered up with the architecture firm Perkins+Will and consultant firm Nelson/Nygaard. They want to improve the heavy traffic of Los Angeles, to something that is more familiar to us Scandinavians, with additions such as metro and bus stops in an within urban look with greenery, benches, as well as sidewalks and bike paths.
John Zimmer, President and CO founder of Lyft, told CNN: “We have raised 2 billion dollars, and we have a direct path to profitability with all the money we have raised”. He went on to talk about the amount of money used on the car industry and the inadequate use of its value. “2 trillion dollars are spent every year on car ownership and it is really inefficient, cars are used only 4% of the time”.
It seems to be somewhat of a paradox that a car focused company such as Lyft are focusing on how they can reduce the amount of car lanes, and make more room for trees, benches, and bus lanes.
Although it might seem like a paradox at first, once you dive further into the new street design you’ll understand that it is to Lyft’s benefit as well. The new design does not only include comforting greenery for pedestrians and cyclists, but also a loading zone for shared rides such as Lyft.
Lyft’s future street design in Los Angeles
Lyft has, in collaboration with architecture firm Perkins+Will and transport consultant firm Nelson/Nygaard, worked out a new street design for the Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. The street has an astonishing width of 10 car lanes, and is estimated to transport up to 29.600 people per hour. However after implementing the new street design, it is estimated that the street will be able to optimise its efficiency and transport up to 77.000 people per hour.
Their design includes walking paths, trees, bike lanes, a loading zone for buses and shared rides, and buffers in between the bike lanes and ordinary car and bus lanes.
The redesign of the street concept could easily be confused with a number of places in the larger cities of Scandinavia, for example places such as Amager in Copenhagen.
How does it compare to Scandinavian street design -and more particular Danish street design?
In Copenhagen green patches and a network of biking lanes throughout the city have existed for decades. It brings a sense of freedom and independence to the citizens’ daily travel options. In Copenhagen 64% of the population cycle to their job and school every single day.
As Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen points out that Copenhagen has been working towards becoming a even more cycling friendly city for several years. And it has paid off. Copenhagen has once again, been named “The World’s Best Cycling City”, but the aim to continuously improve and better the city of Copenhagen carries on.
“Copenhagen has for many years been aiming to become one of the world's most cycling-friendly cities because cycling creates better space, cleaner air, less noise and healthier citizens. We believe that a sustainable transport system includes both bicycles, cars and good public transport” said Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen.
It might just be a very good thing that the redesign of Wilshire Boulevard in LA looks familiar to a Scandinavian person. According to Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen it clearly makes a difference to create new and better ways of improving transportation and urban environment. If it has worked in Copenhagen, why shouldn’t it work in in LA as well? According to CNN Tech: The Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Governments; Hasan Ikhrata is fully aware of what is working in Europe and expresses a belief that it could also work in Los Angeles.
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