Wednesday, April 15, 2009

pretty cool what street planning can do to make life fun for walkers and bikers

Good Streets

April 14th, 2009

Good Magazine recently ran an article on streets that includes a slick interactive interface looking at street interventions. They write:

It’s easy to forget that our streets are alterable. They weren’t set down by God on the eighth day; they were designed by human beings. Unfortunately, throughout the 20th century, most of the human beings designing our streets were traffic engineers. For the most part, they viewed the city from behind a windshield and saw the street as a problem to be solved for automobiles. The result is the American city that most of us know today: sprawling, traffic-choked, hostile to pedestrians and cyclists, dependent on a vast, never-ending flow of cheap oil, and deeply unsustainable.

Streets can and must be more than just a place for the movement and storage of private motor vehicles. The urban street of the 21st century will be a “complete street,” accommodating pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders alike. At the Livable Streets Initiative we are helping citizens re-envision streets as great public spaces. Take, for example, the busy intersection of Amsterdam Avenue and West 76th Street in Manhattan.

I like what they have to say and the dynamic presentation is really pretty cool. The intervention they show is fine; definitely an improvement but certainly nothing special. The truth is, a great city doesn’t need to have a bunch of exceptional streets. A great city needs a few great streets and many, many solid streetss (like the one shown). Anyway, hopefully we are headed toward improving OKC’s street network. Right now the city has very few solid streets for bikes and pedestrians, and not really any great ones, but we can change that fast if we decide to make it happen. With the reception that Speck’s recommendations have thus far received, I think this may be a real turning point for the city.

To see the rest of the Good Magazine livable street page: click here!

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