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.

Ten Roads Whose Time Has Come: Congress for the New Urbanism Releases List of Freeways Ripe for Removal

highways_to_boulevards_2

Detroit's I-375 made the list.

Detroit’s I-375 made the list. (gab482/flickr)

The Congress for the New Urbanism has released their annual list of Freeways Without Futures. The organization selected the top 10 urban American (and one Canadian) highways most in need of removal. The final list was culled from nominations from more than 50 cities. Criteria for inclusion included age of the freeway, the potential that removal would have to positively effect the areas where the roadways are currently situated, and the amount of momentum to realize such removals. Additionally the CNU highlighted campaigns in Dallas, the Bronx, Pasadena, Buffalo, and Niagra Falls, that are taking significant steps towards removing freeways (some of which have been included in past lists) as illustrations of broader institutional and political shifts on urban infrastructural thinking.

The dubious list after the jump.

Tunnel Rats: Does Texas Favor Building Highways Over Subways?

Eavesdroplet, Southwest
Monday, November 18, 2013
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The Waller Creek Tunnel in Austin. (Courtesy Lachel & Associates Engineers)

The Waller Creek Tunnel in Austin. (Courtesy Lachel & Associates Engineers)

According to a very confidential source, engineers currently working on the Waller Creek tunnel believe that Austin sits on top of some of the most optimal conditions for tunneling in the entire U.S. These number-crunching problem solvers claimed that a subway tunnel beneath the Texas State Capital’s downtown would cost 1/10th of the amount it would in most places in the country. However, the brainiacs also said that there are those in high places who do not want that knowledge spread around (read TxDOT) because the construction of more freeways is making certain people a great deal of money.

Groups Call for People-Friendly Lake Shore Drive Overhaul in Chicago

City Terrain, Midwest
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
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(Greene & Proppe Design Inc)

(Greene & Proppe Design Inc)

Lake Shore Drive could look a lot different if a local design alliance gets its way.

The “Our Lakefront” plan, commissioned by 15 different organizations including the Active Transportation Alliance, the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation, would reduce the speed limit on the north branch of Lake Shore Drive from 40 to 35 miles per hour; carve out lanes for bicycles and either bus rapid transit or rail; and replace parking spaces with greenery.

Continue reading after the jump.

Architecture Filmmaker Wants to Take You Cross Country

West
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
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(Evan Mather)

(Evan Mather)

Los Angeles-based landscape architect and indie filmmaker Evan Mather is crowd-funding his to way to his first feature-length film. After having produced a series of experimental time-lapse videos about the built environment—including 12 minutes to Vegas— he’s launching a Kickstarter campaign to help fund From Sea to Shining Sea, a 105-minute documentary celebrating the diverse American landscape. Moviegoers will be able to cruise the Interstate Highway System from coast to coast through the extensive video collage, which Mather hopes to complete some time next year.

More after the jump.

BIG’s Bergmann To Teach Studio on Freeway Impacts.  BIG's Bergmann To Teach Studio on Freeway Impacts Fourteen architecture students will be thinking BIG this spring as the NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD) in San Diego teams up with Bjarke Ingels Group to offer a design studio led by Kai-Uwe Bergmann (pictured), partner and director of business development at the world-conquering firm. Starting in April, students will explore the impact of freeways along key sections of the coast, with San Diego acting as an urban laboratory. They’ll also be asked to propose uses to make freeways like the I-5 more community-friendly. Working directly with Bergmann, the budding architects will also get an immersion in the firm’s “Yes is More” and “Hedonistic Sustainability” philosophies. “When we explored themes with BIG for this NSAD studio, from the start their interest was in something that would have an impact, such as dealing with large urban systems, patterns or infrastructure,” Kurt Hunker, NSAD director of graduate programs said in a statement.

 

Residents Resist Double-Decker Highway Proposed in Milwaukee

Midwest
Thursday, March 7, 2013
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A double-decker highway proposed in Milwaukee has Story Hill residents concerned.

A double-decker highway proposed in Milwaukee has Story Hill residents concerned.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is reportedly considering building a 40-foot high, double-decker highway through Milwaukee’s Story Hill neighborhood. At six or eight lanes, preliminary plans for the split-level freeway show a massive project intended to help relieve the I-94 bottleneck. As Urban Milwaukee reported, residents of the Story Hill Neighborhood Association are not happy about the plans:

“The political decision will be to sacrifice this neighborhood for the commuters,” predicted Ald. Michael J. Murphy, who both represents and lives in Story Hill.

Story Hill’s view of downtown would be blocked by the tall freeway as designed, but Wisconsin transportation officials say the high-set design is less expensive than building the freeway lower.

Brooklyn Group Calls for Designers To Raise the Fun Quotient of Atlantic Avenue’s Funderpass

East
Monday, February 11, 2013
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Conceptual drawing of the F(underpass) prepared by Planning Corps. (Courtesy of Planning Corps/Eric Galipo)

Conceptual drawing of the F(underpass) prepared by Planning Corps. (Courtesy of Planning Corps/Eric Galipo)

Atlantic Avenue is one step closer to getting its Funderpass. The Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) just announced a Request for Proposals to redesign the space below the drab BQE underpass to create a more pedestrian-friendly connection between the shops and restaurants on Atlantic Avenue and Brooklyn Bridge Park. The RFP encourages respondents to “partner with another organization such as a lighting designer, landscape firm, or graphic design firm to broaden the expertise of the team you submit to us.”

Last December, AN reported that the Atlantic Avenue BID received a $75,000 grant from the NYC Department of Small Business Services for this project. The deadline for the RFP is February 26th, 2013.

Hacking Robert Moses

Other
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
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Recognize this? Look closely, to be sure. (Curbed)

Recognize this? Look closely, to be sure. (Curbed)

If you’ve seen Watchmen already, then you know Richard Nixon is still president and there are a few extra skyscrapers along the Manhattan skyline. In that case, things are probably a little different down at street level, too. Perhaps, like Tricky Dick, Robert Moses stuck around and realized all of his grand schemes. Read More

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