12: Disrupting Infrastructure: Space, Speed, and Street Governance

Author:
Restricted access
Rights and permissions Cite this chapter

In many cities, streets are governed for the car. Street infrastructure is allocated and regulated to prioritize high-speed travel for those in cars, typically at the cost of slowness for those outside them (and often, as critics argue, also for those inside the car). Yet the governance of streets is not fixed. This chapter examines a series of efforts by transport activists to reorient the form and regulation of streets in San Francisco. These include DIY (do-it-yourself) infrastructure, in which participants physically alter the form of street infrastructure (installing cycle lanes, crosswalks, and other unsanctioned ‘improvements’), and JAMs (just a minute), in which participants temporarily alter the regulation of street infrastructure (holding up traffic when car drivers illegally take over spaces allocated for cyclists). The chapter examines these as two related but distinct practices: (1) prefiguring, in which hoped-for worlds are physically brought into being; and (2) heckling, in which prevailing norms are comically and chaotically disrupted. The central claim in both is the same: the temporalities of street infrastructure are not inevitable, but the result of choices that could be changed – and that change can be fast.

  • Abram, S. (2014) ‘The time it takes: Temporalities of planning’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 20(s1): 12947.

  • Aldred, R., and Dales, J. (2017) ‘Diversifying and normalising cycling in London, UK: An exploratory study on the influence of infrastructure’, Journal of Transport & Health, 4: 34862.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Arícan, A. (2020) ‘Behind the scaffolding: Manipulations of time, delays, and power in Tarlabaşı, Istanbul’, City & Society, 32(3): 482507.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bialick, A. (2016) ‘Beyond safe-hit posts: Tackling the challenges of engineering safer streets’. https://www.sfmta.com/blog/beyond-safe-hit-posts-tackling-challenges-engineering-safer-streets (accessed 14 December 2022).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bike Lane Protest on Valencia St (2022) available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDboYpYvT2o (accessed 14 December 2022).

  • Boggs, C. (1977) ‘Marxism, prefigurative communism and the problem of workers’ control’, Radical America, 6(Winter): 99122.

  • Böhm, S., Jones, C., Land, C., and Paterson, M. (eds) (2006) Against Automobility, Malden, MA: Blackwell.

  • Breed, L. (2019) ‘Building safer streets faster: Our new “Quick Build” policy’. https://londonbreed.medium.com/building-safer-streets-faster-our-new-quick-build-policy-92012487ce76 (accessed 22 July 2022).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Buehler, R., and Pucher, J.R. (eds) (2021) Cycling for Sustainable Cities: Urban and Industrial Environments, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Campbell, L. (2017) ‘Collaborators and hecklers: Performative pedagogy and interruptive processes’, Scenario: A Journal of Performative Teaching, Learning, Research, 11(1): 3371.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carlsson, C. (ed) (2002) Critical Mass: Bicycling’s Defiant Celebration, Edinburgh: AK Press.

  • Carse, A., and Kneas, D. (2019) ‘Unbuilt and unfinished: The temporalities of infrastructure’, Environment and Society, 10(1), 928.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • City of San Francisco (2021) ‘Vision Zero SF Action Strategy’. https://www.visionzerosf.org/about/action-strategy/ (accessed 25 July 2022).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cohen, A.J., and Morgan, B. (2023) ‘Prefigurative legality’, Law & Social Inquiry, 48(3): 1053–82. https://doi.org/10.1017/lsi.2023.4

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cresswell, T. (2006) On the Move: Mobility in the Modern Western World, New York: Routledge.

  • Culver, G. (2018) ‘Death and the car: On (auto)mobility, violence, and injustice’, ACME, 17(1): 14470.

  • DeLaure, M., and Fink, M. (eds) (2017) Culture Jamming: Activism and the Art of Cultural Resistance, New York: New York University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dittmar, H., and Ohland, G. (eds) (2004) The New Transit Town: Best Practices in Transit-Oriented Development, Washington, DC: Island Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ferenchak, N.N., and Marshall, W.E. (2019) ‘Advancing healthy cities through safer cycling: An examination of shared lane markings’, International Journal of Transportation Science and Technology, 8(2): 13645.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ferster, C., Laberee, K., Nelson, T., Thigpen, C., Simeone, M., and Winters, M. (2021) ‘From advocacy to acceptance: Social media discussions of protected bike lane installations’, Urban Studies, 58(5): 94158.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Flynn, A., and Thorpe, A. (2021) ‘Pandemic pop-ups and the performance of legality’, in B. Doucet, R. van Melik, and P. Filion (eds) Global Reflections on COVID-19 and Urban Inequalities. Volume 3: Public Space and Mobility, Bristol: Bristol University Press, pp 2535.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goodyear, S., Gordon, D., and Naparstek, A. (2022) ‘They paved paradise and put up a parking lot’, The War on Cars, New York. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwi_jticz-f7AhWjzzgGHe5aBjAQFnoECA0QAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fthewaroncars.org%2Fepisode-84-they-paved-r-place-and-put-up-a-parking-lot-final-web-transcript%2F&usg=AOvVaw0mxI16FaFQ_6TcdWs-l0iA (accessed 14 December 2022).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gupta, A. (2015) ‘Suspension’, Theorizing the Contemporary, Fieldsights, 24 September 24. https://culanth.org/fieldsights/suspension (accessed 11 June 2021).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harrison-Caldwell, M. (2021) ‘How SF’s Quick Build program works around bureaucratic obstacles’, The Frisc, 5 November. https://thefrisc.com/how-sfs-quick-build-program-works-around-bureaucratic-obstacles-9ca899eb7ed7 (accessed 14 December 2022).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harvey, P., and Knox, H. (2015) Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

  • Henderson, J. (2020) ‘EVs are not the answer: A mobility justice critique of electric vehicle transitions’, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 110(6): 19932010.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hubbard, P., and Lilley, K. (2004) ‘Pacemaking the modern city: The urban politics of speed and slowness’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 22(2): 27394.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jones, P., Boujenko, N., and Marshall, S. (2007) Link & Place: A Guide to Street Planning and Design, London: Local Transport Today.

  • Jordan, M. (2011) ‘Heckle, hiss, howl and holler’, Art & the Public Sphere, 1(2): 11719.

  • Kádár, D.Z., and Ran, Y. (2015) ‘Ritual in intercultural contact: A metapragmatic case study of heckling’, Journal of Pragmatics, 77: 4155.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Leyendecker, K., and Cox, P. (2022) ‘Cycle campaigning for a just city’, Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 15: 100678.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lombard, M. (2013) ‘Struggling, suffering, hoping, waiting: Perceptions of temporality in two informal neighborhoods in Mexico’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 31(5): 81329.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lusk, A.C., Willett, W.C., Morris, V., Byner, C., and Li, Y. (2019) ‘Bicycle facilities safest from crime and crashes: Perceptions of residents familiar with higher crime/lower income neighborhoods in Boston’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(3): 484.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Maeckelbergh, M. (2011) ‘Doing is believing: Prefiguration as strategic practice in the alterglobalization movement’, Social Movement Studies, 10(1): 120.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Norton, P.D. (2011) Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Raifman, M.A., and Choma, E.F. (2022) ‘Disparities in activity and traffic fatalities by race/ethnicity’, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 63(2): 1607.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roberts, C. (2020) ‘Into a headwind: Canadian cycle commuting and the growth of sustainable practices in hostile political contexts’, Energy Research & Social Science, 70: 101679.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rudick, R. (2020). ‘Another crash on Valencia as City drags feet on safety’, Streetsblog San Francisco, 27 October. https://sf.streetsblog.org/2020/10/27/another-crash-on-valencia-as-city-drags-feet-on-safety/ (accessed 14 December 2022).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rudick, R. (2022) ‘Valencia Street ‘Just a Minute’ pilot protest’, Streetsblog San Francisco, 26 January. https://sf.streetsblog.org/2022/01/26/valencia-street-just-a-minute-pilot-protest/ (accessed 14 December 2022).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schneider, N. (2014) Vision Zero, SF, Berkeley, CA: Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.

  • Schoner, J.E., and Levinson, D.M. (2014) ‘The missing link: Bicycle infrastructure networks and ridership in 74 US cities’, Transportation, 41(6): 1187204.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shahum, L. (2017) ‘Safe Streets: Insights on Vision Zero policies from European cities’, German Marshall Fund of the United States. http://www.jstor.com/stable/resrep18873 (accessed 14 December 2022).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sheller, M. (2018) Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in the Age of Extremes, London: Verso.

  • Smart Growth America (2019) ‘What are complete streets?https://smartgrowthamerica.org/program/national-complete-streets-coalition/publications/what-are-complete-streets/ (accessed 14 December 2022).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Southworth, M., and Ben-Joseph, E. (2013) Streets and the Shaping of Towns and Cities, Washington, DC: Island Press.

  • Stamatopoulou-Robbins, S.C. (2021) ‘Failure to build: Sewage and the choppy temporality of infrastructure in Palestine’, Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 4(1): 2842.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stehlin, J. (2015) ‘Cycles of investment: Bicycle infrastructure, gentrification, and the restructuring of the San Francisco Bay Area’, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 47(1): 12137.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thorpe, A. (2020) Owning the Street: The Everyday Life of Property, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Thorpe, A. (2022) ‘Prefigurative infrastructure: Mobility, citizenship, and the agency of objects’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 47(2): 183–99.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tolkoff, L., and Anzai, K. (2022) ‘Accelerating sustainable transportation in California’, SPUR. https://www.spur.org/sites/default/files/2022-04/SPUR_Accelerating_Sustainable_Transportation_in_California.pdf (accessed 29 July 2022).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • UN Environment Programme (2020) Share the Road Programme Annual Report 2019, Nairobi: UNEP.

  • van Goeverden, K., Nielsen, T.S., Harder, H., and van Nes, R. (2015) ‘Interventions in bicycle infrastructure: Lessons from Dutch and Danish cases’, Transportation Research Procedia, 10: 40312.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vision Zero Coalition (2015) ‘Vision Zero: Where San Francisco stands in achieving Vision Zero: One Year Progress Report’. http://sfbike.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Vision-Zero-Report-2014-web.pdf?org=451&lvl=100&ite=7046&lea=3362887&ctr=0&par=1 (accessed 14 December 2022).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vreugdenhil, R., and Williams, S. (2013) ‘White line fever: A socio-technical perspective on the contested implementation of an urban bike lane network: White line fever’, Area, 45(3): 28391.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wajcman, J., and Dodd, N. (2016) ‘Introduction: The powerful are fast, the powerless are slow’, in J. Wajcman and N. Dodd (eds) The Sociology of Speed: Digital, Organizational, and Social Temporalities, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp 112.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WHO (World Health Organization) (2019) ‘Global status report on road safety 2018’. https://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/road_safety_status/2018/en/ (accessed 14 December 2022).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wiener, S. (2022) ‘Senator Wiener introduces SB 922 to expedite sustainable transportation projects’. https://sd11.senate.ca.gov/print/967 (accessed 29 July 2022).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wild, K., Woodward, A., Field, A., and Macmillan, A. (2018) ‘Beyond “bikelash”: Engaging with community opposition to cycle lanes’, Mobilities, 13(4): 50519.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zhu, M., Li, H., Sze, N.N., and Ren, G. (2022) ‘Exploring the impacts of street layout on the frequency of pedestrian crashes: A micro-level study’, Journal of Safety Research, 81: 91100.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Content Metrics

May 2022 onwards Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 512 512 105
Full Text Views 2 2 0
PDF Downloads 4 4 0

Altmetrics