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[ADVERTORIAL] Functional and secure, CDA's ambitions for public space in Harlem |  Harlem Weekly

[ADVERTORIAL] Functional and secure, CDA’s ambitions for public space in Harlem | Harlem Weekly

Harlem With eight years of experience on Harlem City Council, CDA leader Ron Dreyer closely monitors the city’s public space. There is a lot of room for improvement, particularly in the area of ​​accessibility.

From the moment Ron Dreger joined City Council as Shadow Counsel in 2014, he has studied developments in the field of public space in Harlem. In particular, access should be made for people with a mobile disability, as one should think not only of people using wheelchairs, but also, for example, mothers with prams and people with a walker, better, according to Dreger in Harlem. .

Challenges A number of challenges await, particularly in the city centre, as the CDA leader says in his living room in the Amsterdam district: “The city center is actually not well equipped for people with disabilities. For example, there are many pedestrian areas that are still barricades. This is very difficult for a person in a wheelchair.”

But downtown Harlem entrepreneurs frequently use the sidewalk as an entrance to their stores. And that’s not allowed everywhere, explains Dreger: “Bike biking for a bike shop, billboards on the sidewalk in front of the entrance, all things that can be understood from an entrepreneur’s point of view, but in many places are prohibited or tied to a permit.”

fines Enforcement is a challenge to the municipality and Dreger does not explicitly support paying fines. In his opinion, it is much better to engage in a dialogue with the perpetrators than to pay fines. Identifying and pointing out what could be improved later improves quality of life as well.

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If you call something pedestrian zone, you should design it that way

An example of a street where things can be improved that every Haarlemmer knows is the Koningstraat in the centre. A pedestrian area with sidewalks where the sidewalk narrows in different places because the shop owners use it partly. It’s annoying that the rules are broken there, but according to Dreger, it’s also partially understandable: “If you call something a pedestrian zone, you actually have to design it that way. Because of the modest sidewalk, you still have a distinction in Koningstraat between sidewalk and street. So from The concept is that business people want to use the sidewalk for their shop. The most important thing for city accessibility is that politicians, enforcers, and business people discuss these kinds of places with each other in order to find a solution together.”

Inconvenience The place where bicycles cause a lot of inconvenience to visitors is the Grote Houtstraat. Along the former V&D building, there are now bike racks that narrow access to the street. We hope that Dreijer has found a solution by entering into discussions with stakeholders in the area: “We hope to be able to use the basement of the former V&D building as a bike basement in the near future. We are in talks with the new owners of the property for this. It is a great example of The benefits you gain by starting the conversation. By providing a solution to bike nuisance as a municipality, it is also easy to maintain in the area afterwards.”

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What will his dream public space look like in his city in the near future? Dreger is happy to share his vision: “In the center, I would like to see the pedestrian areas on the ground floor, with enough seating and plenty of green space to cool off. When there is room for trees, you should place trees and where this is not possible, you can think of other solutions, such as garlands Green flowers. In short, even after the municipal elections in March, there is still a lot to do!”