Open Streets Events Rolling Out Across the Country This Summer

Summer Streets 2011 (New York City Department of Transportation/Flickr)

Summer Streets 2011 (New York City Department of Transportation/Flickr)

The Open Streets movement is a wildly popular tool in the Tactical Urbanist‘s arsenal. The concept is simple: shut down city streets to automobile traffic for a day so pedestrians and cyclists can fully utilize our most plentiful public spaces. Cities from New York to Los Angeles now celebrate their open spaces with programs that are about to kick off for the summer season. Here’s a roundup of some of the top programs around the country.

View upcoming open streets events after the jump.

Twin Cities celebrate first inter-city rail connection in decades

Minneapolis Metro Transit Trains at Target Field Station. (Mark Danielson / Flickr)

Minneapolis Metro Transit Trains at Target Field Station. (Mark Danielson / Flickr)

For a metro area as widely praised for its alternative transportation options as Minnesota’s Twin Cities, it’s surprising Minneapolis and St. Paul are only now celebrating a new light rail connection between their downtowns. Read More

NYC Transportation Head Outlines Priorities For Building Infrastructure & Public Space

DOT Commissioner Trottenberg announcing a Vision Zero "Slow Zone" in Brooklyn. (DOT / Flickr)

DOT Commissioner Trottenberg announcing a Vision Zero “Slow Zone” in Brooklyn. (Courtesy NYCDOT)

At a recent transportation forum hosted by the New York Building Congress, New York City Transportation Commissioner, Polly Trottenberg, laid-out her agenda for the city’s streets. She said implementing Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic fatalities remains the department’s first priority, but made clear that, under her leadership, the NYCDOT will be doing more than safety upgrades.

Trottenberg praised her predecessor, Janette Sadik-Khan, for “cracking some eggs” and fighting for bike lanes, bikeshare, Select Bus Service, and pedestrian plazas when it was not politically popular to do so. She explained that Sadik-Khan’s commitment to these types of programs—and the Bloomberg administration’s ability to realize them—makes her job that much easier. The challenge now is keeping up with the demand for new public space.

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Motor City’s first buffered bike lanes planned for Midtown

Detroit's 2nd Avenue is the target of a substantial road diet that may include the Motor City's first buffered bike lanes. (Curbed Detroit)

Detroit’s 2nd Avenue is the target of a substantial road diet that may include the Motor City’s first buffered bike lanes. (Curbed Detroit)

Given the severity and number of challenges facing Detroit, streetscape improvements might not seem like a very high priority. But in the Motor City’s Midtown, one of the city’s relatively resurgent neighborhoods, a local planning non-profit is betting that encouraging more bicyclists and pedestrians will be a boon for the area. As a result, Detroit may soon get its first buffered bike lanes. Between Temple Street and Warren Avenue, Midtown’s 2nd Avenue is the target of a substantial road diet, as first reported by ModeShift.  Read More

Wilmore Resident Wins Grant For Edible Walkway Project

Development, East, Urbanism
Monday, June 16, 2014
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Wilmore Urban Garden (Courtesy UNC Charlotte Urban Institute)

Wilmore Urban Garden (Courtesy UNC Charlotte Urban Institute)

Kris Steele’s “Edible Walkway” proposal to bring an urban orchard to Charlotte, NC was one of two recipients of the Keep Charlotte Beautiful (KCB) neighborhood beautification grants announced in May. Steele’s proposal was approved over 34 other proposals by KCB and received an endowment of $2,500 to get the plan moving.

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Flint Public Art Project enlists local students for ‘museum of public schools’

(Museum of Public Schools)

(Museum of Public Schools)

Flint, Michigan kicked off a series of events celebrating education and the arts Friday, unveiling interactive installations cooked up over a year-long after school program local students have dubbed Museum of Public Schools.

Produced by the Flint Public Art Project, the ongoing exhibition will culminate in a series of proposals by students to change their school system. Mott Middle College plays host to the ongoing event.

Read More

Urbanism Giants, Gehl and Rebar, Join Forces To Create Gehl Studio

Gehl created a roadmap for rethinking New York's streetscapes, like Times Square. (NYDOT)

Gehl created a roadmap for rethinking New York’s streetscapes, like Times Square. (NYDOT)

Two global urbanistic powerhouses, San Francisco–based Rebar and Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects, have joined forces to create Gehl Studio. The practices will keep their offices in their respective cities and start a new one in New York. Gehl didn’t purchase Rebar, but hired most of Rebar’s staff, including two of the three founding partners, according to a report in Landscape Architecture Magazine.

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Cleveland approves neighborhood plans to bring new life to first ring suburbs

City Terrain, Midwest, News, Urbanism
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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draft_duckisland_nabe-plan-cleveland

Aerial rendering from the Duck Island neighborhood plan.

The Cleveland neighborhoods of Kinsman, Duck Island, and West 65th Street could eventually get major updates now that three new plans have won unanimous approval from the city’s planning commission. All three neighborhoods were built when Cleveland’s industrial heyday propelled a boom of real estate development that has long since given way to depopulation. In Kinsman, on the city’s far East Side, the plan proposed creating an arts and entertainment district. The Duck Island plan focused on multi-modal transportation hubs, and the plan focusing on the West 65th Street neighborhood called for a two-mile multi-purpose trail. Funding for most of the work is still undetermined, but the city has committed some money for bike lanes, curb extensions, and other local improvements already called for in the three plans.

Los Angeles Announces Makeover Candidates for Great Streets Program

Improvements are already planned on this stretch of Figueroa Street south of Downtown Los Angeles (above), but a new Great Streets plan brings improvements to additional portions of the street. (Courtesy MyFigueroa)

Improvements are already planned on this stretch of Figueroa Street south of Downtown Los Angeles (above), but a new Great Streets plan brings improvements to additional portions of the street. (Courtesy MyFigueroa)

As the United States’ prototypical car-oriented freeway town, Los Angeles continues to edge its way toward becoming a pedestrian-friendly metropolis. The city’s Great Streets Initiative, a program intended to redesign public space to be more pedestrian- and cyclist-friend, officially moved forward this week as Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the first 15 streets that will be targeted for improvement throughout the city.

Continue reading after the jump.

Streamlined Streets Aim to Enhance Houston’s Quality of Life

(Courtesy Wikipedia)

(Courtesy Wikipedia)

Dunlavey Street in central Houston typifies the image of a Southwestern city street. It’s a sprawling, four lane affair that is approximately 50 percent usable, 80 percent pedestrian unsafe, and, in this case, 100 percent in need of an update. Transportation officials are evening out the numbers for a proposed road diet that would reduce the four-lane street to two and using the outer lane space for parking, improved sidewalks, and bike lanes.

Continue reading after the jump.

Minneapolis breaks ground on massive downtown east development

Minneapolis developers broke ground May 13 on a mixed-use development in Downtown East. (Ryan companies/DML)

Minneapolis developers broke ground May 13 on a mixed-use development in Downtown East. (Ryan companies/DML)

Earlier this month, workers broke ground on the largest Twin Cities real estate development project in two decades. Budding off a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, designed by HKS, locally based Ryan Companies saw an opportunity to redefine the Minneapolis neighborhood of Downtown East.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago Plan Commission Approves New Skate Park for Grant Park

(Chicago Park District)

(Chicago Park District)

This month, Chicago’s Plan Commission approved plans for a new skatepark at the south end of Grant Park. Plans were released last fall, showing curvy paved pathways and sculptural landscape features courtesy of the Chicago Park District and North Center urban design studio Altamanu. Read More

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