05 July 2010

Transforming city streets on a budget

Planners at Peterborough City Hall headed back to the drawing board last week after Council took $10,000 out of their Gilchrist Street redesign budget. The $11,000 set aside for planters was too much, Council decided. 

Councillors Dean Pappas and Ann Farquharson argued the beautification project would enhance pedestrian safety. 
They were outvoted by those who saw the planter cost as "extravagant".

It's a good example of what Janette Sadik-Khan calls the view of streets as mere "utilitarian corridors". Sadik-Khan is the commissioner of the New York City Dept. of Transportation and she is working to transform New York's streets into multipurpose public spaces. She talks about that transformation in the video below. 

Redesigning streetscapes to make them easily accessible by many types of transportation as well as spaces of vibrant public life will require significant long term investment. Nonetheless, as Sadik-Khan shows, many pilot projects can be quite inexpensive. Reused materials and temporary traffic calming features can ease the public into this transformation before significant investment is made.

What is a street to you? This blog loves being talked back to, share your thoughts below.

Oh, and check out streetfilms.org for more great videos.

Retrieved from: http://www.streetfilms.org/transforming-nyc-streets-with-jsk/

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