(BNC Ecologica, via Cities of the Future)
Super Blocks, or superilles, are an infrastructural newcomer when it comes to how we move citizens through an urban center, most famously implemented in Barcelona. This mobility solution is intended to decrease traffic by 21% and free up over 50% of available street space for foot and bicycle transportation.
By forcing car traffic AROUND areas of high density in roughly 9 block radii, gridlock in many of the more infrastructurally pressured areas is relieved, and citizens are encouraged to engage in alternative modes of transportation in order to get where they want to go. By only allowing foot traffic, bikes, public transportation, and freight to enter the superblock, Barcelona has promoted congestion free living in some of its most spectacular locales, all without disenfranchising specific groups of citizens, stressing infrastructure and can actually observe a more efficient grid.
By fighting back against the dominance of cars, Barcelona is not only reducing traffic congestion, but also seeing many other positive outcomes, such as an increase in retail spending at the local level thanks to more people on foot, public transportation, and on bikes, but also lower levels of pollution, and greater community interaction.
Would the superblock concept work in Philly? It’s impossible to know, but it seems like it would certainly be worth a test. What do you think? We would love to see Philly become more of a bike-friendly city.