I am passionate about intersections - organizational, social, cultural, and physical - where people come together and have to coordinate to figure out what happens next.

Designing The 21st Century Street

Posted: September 2nd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

The approach of this design is one of working within the existing context. The main theme of the design is one of true shared space with clear sense of boundaries. Fourth Avenue’s vehicular area is compressed, but mostly organized. This leaves space for street trees on each side and a wider, mixed-use median with container-planted trees, further creating pedestrian scaled intimate environment.

Fourth Avenue becomes wider at the intersection with 9th Street, allowing embedded turning lanes, a new bicycle path in the median and pedestrian islands. The bicycle path is placed in the center of 4th Avenue, activating the current median being space whose only use is for venting of the subway. Putting the path in the center consolidates bikeways that would normally be another lane between parked cars and heavy traffic.

The intersection is raised to the level of the surrounding sidewalks, providing ease of movement for pedestrians and adding another signal to vehicular traffic to calm and watch for foot and wheeled traffic. Yellow pavement inlays guide the sight impaired at crosswalks, bus stops and major pathways.

Subway elevators are added to add stops on each side of the street to minimize crossings. New lighting and graphic banners announce the avenue’s importance.

Large cylindrical lighted poles gradually becoming more vertical as the intersection nears triumphs the center and gives dynamic presentation of pause. The train bridge is restored and the billboard taken down.

As 4th Avenue is more of an arterial, much of the street life focus is placed on 9th Street. Sidewalks are widened to include bicycle paths at the same level, separated by lighted bollards. This creates the feeling of even larger sidewalks and narrows the vehicular traffic area to its minimum levels, of two travel lanes in each direction and a match parking lane. At the 4th Ave intersection, 9th Street’s curbs are pulled out into the parking lanes, allowing safe pedestrian movement. Bicycle traffic is made safer. The street becomes intimate through regularly placed benches, bicycle racks and street trees along its entirety.

South West Down 4th

 

South East Down 9th

Site Plan

North East Down 4th