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Being from Barcelona, my two cents. In Barcelona, the discussion/fight about car and pedestrian space is very different symbolically than in the US. Mediterranean cosmovision is really different from the western coast. So, the article is completely accurate and also misses the point. The reasons behind the push in favor and against superblocks is more about joy/work division within middle class/upper class groups than some car/pedestrian space conceptual fight. Given my background and status I am for superblocks, other subgroups within the middle-class with left-wing ideas are against it. For example, poor people (and areas) are completely left out of the disccussion, and in any case, most neighbor associations in poor areas clearly go for cars and could not care less about in-city spaces. They push for public buildings (build schools, libraries, parks, public housing,..) and not street space. Second idea. No, there will be no self-driving cars ever in our lifetime. All the publicity from tech companies is just that, publicity. You can transform all roads into the de-facto train lines and try to transform all cars into pseudo-trains (one lane, constant speed, no weird stuff crossing) but real city driving, in Barcelona for example, with small streets, multiple in/out interactions, crossing, blocks, and hundred of interactions is a self-aware conscious process built upon a learnt zombie process (yes zombie aware state exists in neuroscience and it is fascinating). My american friends always tell me how I dare to drive in Barcelona. I am a good conscious zombie machine. Most americans I know would have problems driving here. They inmediately realize. Until we get a self-conscious robot, self-driving is pure nonsense. So, the best option in Barcelona, and in most cities is to take lanes from cars and give it to automatic buses/trains. By the way, in Barcelona one metro-line is already driven from "control" and what americans call BRT is everywhere. All main streets have its lane for buses. Just imagine all San Fernando Valley, or Hollywood, main streets with a dedicated bus lane. That's the way forward as far as a I see it...and congestion pricing..but that's another topic.
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Apr 25, 2019