Livable Streets Promised Land

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Here’s
a nice visual of what cities will look like when the livable streets
movement has completely emerged from the wilderness (sorry for the
extended metaphor, couldn’t help it today). GOOD Magazine ran this photosim done by our very own Carly Clark in their transportation issue, with text by Streetsblog Editor-in-Chief Aaron Naparstek. They’ve got a whole interactive graphic that walks you through the elements of a livable street, and — hats off to my coworkers — it looks great.

GOOD is also putting on a photosim contest
where readers can submit their own designs for a livable street. If you
send something in, don’t worry too hard about impressing the jury.
Aaron will be the only judge.

  • Matt

    This reminds me of downtown Portland.

  • Regarding the visualization above, what kind of meshuga idea is that for a bike lane? Between the buses and the median? As a cyclist, I would feel trapped, with no flexibility to check out the stores or PEOPLE on the side of the street. It also seems two narrow for two cyclists to ride side-by-side.

    The bus lane is okay I suppose (though just a dedicated lane, not really any form of true BRT.) Nice street surfaces, though perhaps a little demarcation-heavy. Trees are green as trees should be (though don’t forget what this will look like about six months of the year.). I don’t see any permanent street furniture (and I mean for sitting, not for ads for cars being used to fund “free” bikes.)

    The main problem of course is that a little over half of the non-pedestrian space is still dedicated for cars, and including the bus and bike spaces it is all about Holy Traffic Flow, the Omega Molecule of Throughput (and why not? This street seems to have some off-street parking, based on that large sign. So why have something that no one can get to?)

    Clearly examples like this of “complete streets” are better than most current designs for the spaces between buildings, but if the starting pointing was the bottom of a latrine in Hell, a JCDecaux public toilet (provided in trade for ads encouraging people to eat too much) has to be an improvement.

    Many of us had it pounded into our heads that a “complete breakfast” includes juice, toast, cereal milk and meat.. and a good deal of us eventually realized that this was NOT the case, that it was just a marketing slogan by the various involved industries. Similarly, in the current way that “complete streets” is used, cars are bacon and perhaps milk is the desire for flow…(at least for me as I am lactose-intolerant). Complete streets – along with its fully un-demarcated European first cousin Shared Space – is a car-preservation plan, i.e. a car-industry preservation plan. As my friend says: “Green capitalism will save us! we just need more astroturf PR scams to convince affluent white people that their street could have a more aesthetically pleasing arrangements of cars!” Indeed, this marketing plan is fully endorsed by the people who call themselves eco-friendly.

    What I suggest is that a new starting point, a new definition of “complete”, is that simple and peaceful place between buildings for people to meet, talk and play. Every compromise to move people faster (starting with bikes and then with trams, buses, etc. unless it makes more sense to put these underground) is understood to be something to make the street LESS complete.

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