In my opinion, this design would be much better than signals for when Vancouver’s bike boulevards cross arterials. Complete post from 2013. Previous Stroad to Boulevard post on bulge, narrow, wiggle intersection design. Sit Up Vancouver suggested redesign for 10th & Yukon.
I want to take this app (open source!) and run with it, making a drag and drop webapp to redesign all public space: streets, squares, parklets, parks, intersections, tactical street festivals, the works. All the space between the buildings is up for grabs.
Say you clicked on the Streetmix view in the bottom right corner of the mock-up above, it would expand to fill the screen so you could edit lane arrangements of various cross-section points. You could also edit on the plan view to show how those cross-sections connect, and to add paint and furniture (like planters).
Today, Vancouver demonstrates how cross-sections stitch together on plans like this, below. I bet other towns do it similarly and I think we can do better, making plans clearer and offering a quick and easy walk-through.
When you’re done dropping in planters and widening sidewalks, you click to minimise the editing screen, and see the 3D view above again, which you can pan and zoom around. The buildings can be simple boxes (perhaps with crudely configurable massing) since they’re not the focus here.
Brian Mount already implemented a simple plan view fork of an earlier version of Streetmix, shown below. Imagine being able to paint onto that, and drop in elements like planters and parklets.
Spencer Boomhower has made a reconfigurable 3D streetscape using Unity3D, below, that could also inform the app user experience.
Anyone else interested? Shall we Kickstart it?
The Grafton Gully Multiway Boulevard
Kent Lundberg has shared his team’s proposal for a multiway boulevard in Auckland, New Zealand.
The plan beautifully identifies the space required, and the development opportunities it opens up.
I love this proposal of course. My two design nit-picks from the cross-section above are:
- The segmentation of the access lane. Most importantly, I’d want parking on the outside of the access lane, by the tree, not on the inside against the sidewalk. This will help ensure the whole access lane has pedestrians crossing it. I don’t like the specifically marked bike lane either, as I fear it will stoke pedestrian conflicts. If there must be one, I would consider putting it between the parked cars and the trees, i.e. closer to the ‘thru flow’ centre lanes. Better yet, I’d just have a smooth concrete strip up the middle of the cobbled/textured access lane - perhaps also acting as a gutter - so that citizen cyclists take that and enforce slowness there. The cyclist on this Vancouver woonerf shows the idea:
- The grading of the access lane. I’d prefer to do away with all curbing, so that it’s clear the whole access lane is an extension of the pedestrian realm. Again I’d copy the image above with the bollards on the right to demarcate space.
I also wonder about the possibility of making the three major intersections (Nichols, Parnell, St Georges) into slowed places, with a roundabout, a square-about, Blackson twist, or some other kind of signal-less slowing-by-wiggle-inducing design.
But bravo to the team on a great proposal. Now to convince the engineers…
Appendix A: Parking Examples
Examples of parking on the tree side. Both Italian, coincidentally, but the French do it plenty too.
The Danes also, below. Also note the additional pedestrian space outside the parked cars. When I talk about putting the bike lane on the outside I imagine a scaled down version of this. Also note how the curb (very low) goes all the way along the access lane edge, right to the middle, like the access lane is one huge sidewalk.
This is California’s Octavia Boulevard which the designers later admitted made design errors that encouraged flow and speed in the access lane, namely: parking on the curbside, wrong texture, and too wide.
Appendix B: Further questions
Firstly, I wonder why the trucking lane is on the outside not the inside. The outside would be the turn lane, I imagine, yet I would expect trucks to be passing through more than turning off. EDIT: apparently it’s related to how trucks would join the route, which makes sense. More analysis required.
Instead the whole area should be ‘shared’, or a wide cycle track marked by texture (concrete amid bricks), but it should be clear that contraflow is illegal and so to be performed cautiously, not at speed.
No, your mall is not sovereign: further adventures in developerese
Previously, I tried to pin down definitions for some oft-abused terms.
Words like Neighbourhood, Street, Road, Town, City, Urban and Rural have been misused for so long by the development and engineering industries that they are almost devoid of meaning. New Urbanists attempt to reclaim these words with more precise definitions.
Apparently we have a new meaningless term to add to the list above.
Likening the future role of major shopping centres to that of a city state, Michael Kitt, executive vice-president Canada for Oxford, the real estate investor, said the development will have to meet the needs of people who live, work and shop there.
The word Mr Kitt (or Ms Dalglish, the Globe’s ‘journalist’) is looking for is perhaps Neighborhood. A neighborhood worthy of the name will contain a mix of uses.
Except that a neighborhood would also contain public space, between the private land on which the buildings stand. The former mall described in the article would, I believe, be entirely private still.
I wonder what kind of governance structure the residents of Mr Kitt’s mall-state will have recourse to? Will his city-state manage its own garbage collection and water treatment? Will the homeless on the streets be permitted to stay the night? How will busking be managed? Food trucks?
- 5-minute-walk neighborhoods of 500m radius. Park, school, centre (green/square) each.
- "Great Streets"/Avenues/transit boulevards connecting the neighborhoods directly.
- A voronoi pattern of blocks between those avenues (presumably responding to contours and traces on the land, like trees, water and old buildings).
- Street/square two sides of the same coin: called a Squeet for brevity during Lilac development.
- The greenbelt urban boundary
Is your town broke? Here’s a reason why.
The collective wealth of our ancestors was tied up in monumental buildings that would radiate wealth for generations. Our collective wealth is tied up in miles of bituminous roadway that decay and fall apart in a couple of decades, creating enormous maintenance liabilities for us in the process.
In the traditional development pattern, our collective investments built wealth. In our new suburban experiment, the auto-based development approach, our collective investments destroy wealth.
There is a powerful insight as to why our cities are broke.
Just a couple of images to point to for any discussion around building over British countryside. There’s plenty sprawl like this on the island to be retrofitted into true neighborhoods and towns.
That lame-brained freeway idea could only be cooked up by a Toon.
You lack vision, but I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off, off and on all day, all night.
Soon, where Toon Town once stood will be a string of gas stations, inexpensive motels, restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food. Tire salons, automobile dealerships and wonderful, wonderful billboards reaching as far as the eye can see.
My God, it’ll be beautiful.
Motor Mania, 1950 Disney classic on road rage. Never gets old.