Making Room for People Rather Than Cars

We talk a lot on this blog about the way that government policy can
help to create livable streets. But we don’t often discuss the role
that individual property owners can play when they’re inspired to
create a more pedestrian-friendly space.

374__663x500_img_1951.jpgThe owner of this property in Miami has decided to convert a parking lot to a terrace.

Today’s post, from Streetsblog Network member Urban City Architecture,
gives an example of how — by converting a small parking lot to a
terrace — one business owner in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood is
contributing to an increasingly vital streetscape:

It seems that recent development and new
emphasis on the pedestrian landscape has encouraged a property owner in
Brickell to replace a small surface (parking) lot in front of a
building with more pedestrian-oriented and occupiable urban space
fronting the sidewalk instead. Over the last couple of months, workers
have been busy transforming the old parking spaces into an elevated
outdoor seating space for what I presume will be a restaurant (or
expansion of the existing restaurant next door).

In
essence, the integration of the building within the urban fabric has
been reconfigured to make it more responsive to pedestrians and more
fitting with its surroundings. Prior to these changes, the building’s
parking layout served as a physical and visual barrier between the
pedestrian and the building. Much in the same way that buildings are
setback behind inhospitable and unwalkable parking in the suburbs —
pedestrians walking the streets were not greeted by a building facade
or window but rather by a long row of car exhausts and vehicle bumpers
that contribute nothing to the urban atmosphere.

Luckily,
the transformation of the space will change this unfavorable dynamic
and create a more lively and active environment on the streets.

It’s
part of a process that the post’s author, Adam Mizrahi, likes to call
"automobile attrition." And it’s an intriguing example of how, when a
neighborhood achieves some livable streets momentum, the dead space
created by cars and parking becomes more apparent.

More from around the network: Newton Streets and Sidewalks talks about how more roads don’t ease congestion; Urban Milwaukee has a personal story about how senior citizens can get shut out of walkable neighborhoods; and The Infrastructurist looks at why Hawaii got complete streets legislation and Missouri didn’t.

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