green streets
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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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How to 'Rightsize' a Street

How to 'Rightsize' a Street | green streets |

The concept of a "road diet” has become increasingly popular, though the phrase fails to capture the wide variety of ways in which streets planned and paved decades ago often awkwardly fit the needs of changing communities today.

In many cases, redesigning city streetscapes is not just (or not at all) about eliminating roadway. It may be about adding parking (to benefit new businesses), or building a new median (for pedestrians who were never present before), or simply painting new markings on the pavement (SCHOOL X-ING).

According to the Project for Public Spaces, we might do better to think of the task as “rightsizing” streets instead of starving them. This week, the nonprofit planning and design organization published a series of case studies from across the country illustrating exactly what this could look like in a variety of settings. The above image pair, from the collection, shows before-and-after scenes of Prospect Park West in Brooklyn. Starting in the summer of 2010, the New York City Department of Transportation began retrofitting the street to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians crossing into Prospect Park. The whole project wasn’t simply a matter of pruning traffic lanes, but of adding yield signs, new traffic signal timing, bike lanes and pedestrian islands.

American Grove's comment, January 28, 2013 8:56 AM
Too often space for trees (6 feet minimum) are left off the plan in a road diet.
American Grove's curator insight, January 28, 2013 8:59 AM

Munciple Arborist Beware!  Too often sufficient space for trees are being left out of the plans in road diets.  The problem is competing space for paths, bikeways, parking squeeze out an 8ft planting strip to a 4 ft planting strip or less.  4 Strip planting strips is not enough soil for shade trees. Bulb outs into parking and root bridging are innovative ways to work with the lack of space but requires an arborist to help plan. 

Suzette Jackson's curator insight, September 10, 2014 6:23 PM

Has your city 'rightsized' your streets? Slowing traffic and creating more engaging neighbourhoods

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EU Summit maps out the future for cities

EU Summit maps out the future for cities | green streets |
What is a sustainable city? What kind of pressure do our urban spaces have to face? What examples can small and medium cities set and how can their successes be reproduced around Europe? Some of the lessons are being learned at the 5th European Summit of Regions and Cities, in Copenhagen.

Approximately half of the world’s total population lives in urban areas. By 2030 80% of Europeans are expected to live in cities. This is why sustainable urban development is acquiring a crucial dimension in the debate over future European policies. Often local and regional areas manage to stand out for their eco-friendly practices, becoming open laboratories of sustainability, as the title of the summit suggests, “The European urban fabric in the 21st century”.

“Historically cities have always been innovation centres, but it is especially from the typical medium-sized European city that innovation starts. Now even the Chinese have discovered that small is beautiful, or better, middle-sized is beautiful. They have found that cities of 500,000 to 600,000 residents are much more sustainable, and they are building medium-sized urban areas to avoid their cities turning into megalopoli,” says President of the Committee of Regions Mercedes Bresso...

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