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.
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 cityâ€™s streets. She said implementing Mayor de Blasioâ€™s Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic fatalities remains the departmentâ€™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 â€œcracking some eggsâ€ 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-Khanâ€™s commitment to these types of programsâ€”and the Bloomberg administrationâ€™s ability to realize themâ€”makes her job that much easier. The challenge now is keeping up with the demand for new public space.
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,Â Detroit may soon get its first buffered bike lanes. Between Temple Street and Warren Avenue, Midtownâ€™s 2ndÂ Avenue is the target of a substantial road diet, as first reported by ModeShift.Â Read More
Kris Steeleâ€™s â€œEdible Walkwayâ€ proposal to bring an urban orchard to Charlotte, NC was one of two recipients of the Keep Charlotte Beautiful (KCB) neighborhood beautification grants announced inÂ May. Steeleâ€™s proposal was approved over 34 other proposals by KCBÂ and received an endowment of $2,500 to get the plan moving.
Flint, MichiganÂ 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 dubbedÂ 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.
Two global urbanistic powerhouses, San Franciscoâ€“based Rebar and Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects, have joined forces to createÂ 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, butÂ hired mostÂ of Rebarâ€™s staff, including two of the three founding partners, according to a report inÂ Landscape Architecture Magazine.
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 cityâ€™s planning commission. All three neighborhoods were built when Clevelandâ€™s industrial heyday propelled a boom of real estate development that has long since given way to depopulation. In Kinsman, on the cityâ€™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.
As the United States’ prototypical car-oriented freeway town, Los Angeles continues to edge its way toward becoming aÂ pedestrian-friendly metropolis. The city’sÂ Great Streets Initiative, a program intended to redesign public space to be more pedestrian- and cyclist-friend, officially moved forward this weekÂ as Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the first 15 streets that will be targeted for improvement throughout the city.
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 forÂ 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.
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.
This month, Chicagoâ€™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