Tag Archives: Street Design

A Green City on the Blue Lake

People everywhere are making the case for Complete Streets – a movement that says streets ought to be for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper.  Many states, cities and towns are instituting policies requiring streets that are designed for people, not just cars.  Unfortunately, not all tranportation planners and engineers have gotten the message.

Check out this music video on YouTube by Clevelanders protesting the design of a new bridge over the Cuyahoga River that fails to include pedestrian and bike access.  The Ohio DOT says it’s too late to consider changes to the Environmental Impact Statement on the project.  But the rappers ask that the State of Ohio “take a step forward and not a step back”, to “make a transition from the tradition of carbon emissions” ,  and “engineer a bridge that will bring new people” to Cleveland to help it thrive.  They make the call for a Green city to embrace healthy tranportation for a healthier population, and  “lead the nation with green alternative transportation”.  Here are a few of the lyrics:

Look to the future and lead the nation
With green alternative transportation

Now is the time to make a transition
From the tradition of carbon emission

Make our streets and bridges complete
Not just for cars but for bikes and feet

The people have spoken and make no mistake
They want a green city on a blue lake.

Will residents of Syracuse and Onondaga County sing this song?

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Sustainable Streetscape

Balancing the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and neighborhoods with those of cars, trucks and thru-traffic is a big part of sustainability. St. Louis is experiencing good results with its ‘Great Streets’ Initiative.  Its goal is to trigger economic and social benefits by centering communities around lively, attractive thoroughfares that serve all modes of transportation.

Great StreetTo begin, citizens and local leaders were asked to look beyond the curb when considering their transportation systems, and to think about how better street design can create better connections, sustainable economic activity and an appealing sense of place.  The South Grand Street pilot project, which includes eliminating a traffic lane, curb ‘bulb-outs’ to improve pedestrian crossing, and increased lighting and landscaping, has been a total success, with public feedback ten to one in favor.  The road better serves the neighborhood and businesses, while still getting cars through safely.

Complete Streets can improve safety, encourage walking and biking, and create stronger communities and more viable neighborhoods and business districts.  Local transportation and street design policies that facilitate walking, biking and transit for short trips can substantially reduce the carbon emissions that negatively affect health and that contribute to global warming.