Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sondor Boulevard - Road Diet

I once drank beer at the terminus of this road at Halmtorvet, here is proof:


Once upon a time Sondor Bou had 2 drive lanes on each side of a grass median with a third lane on each side that flexed between a parking lane and a turning lane at larger intersections. Here is the google earth satellite photo that shows this:

As you can see above, I have highlighted the two travel lanes in red with the flex lane in a softer pink. Below you can see how the road now exists:

The street section now goes:
sidewalk | bike lane | parking | drive lane | redesigned park

Traffic is calmed and people emerge from their hiding spots. See many more pictures of the redesigned park with playgrounds, basketball and bocce courts, low maintenance plantings, skateparks, etc. at this link.

I see two key lessons here. First, is that the boring, high maintenance, low usability grass median can easily become usable people space. We have plenty of these possibilities here. However, that leads me to the second lesson. A park/plaza can only be as strong as its context, its connections to the surroundings and roads have to be slowed to a point where people feel comfortable 1) crossing it to access the park, and 2) hanging out there.

Oh, and it helps to be beautiful. Land value around it has increased because quality of life has been increased.