Archive for the ‘Street’ Tag

Streetscaping in Salisbury, NC

An area of Salisbury, NC where improvements have already taken place www.ci.salisbury.nc.us

An area of Salisbury, NC where improvements have already taken place http://www.ci.salisbury.nc.us

Streetscapes are seldom recognized as one of the most important parts of streetlife. But when red brick textured sidewalks are shaded by trees on a hot summer day, streetscapes can be appreciated. Good streetscapes also contribute to a walkable culture, and attract window shoppers to stop and check out what local businesses have to offer.

Salisbury, NC is currently working on sprucing up their streetscape in hopes of making the downtown area more of an attractive and unique place. The first step to this visioned plan is to bury the utility wires. Removing the wires from the air above and placing them below the sidewalk will allow for more shade trees to line the promenade and will remove the ugly overhanging wires from view. In addition to the utility lines being buried, “other streetscape improvements envisioned include a mast-arm traffic signal pole at Kerr Street, the elevation of granite curbing, brick sidewalks, street trees, pedestrian lighting and parking improvements.”

Sidewalk texturing can be a big aesthetic improvement. Since us human tend to look down at an angle of 15 degrees or so, we naturally are looking at the ground ahead of us. An interesting sidewalk pattern and color is subconsciously an attraction for our eyes.

Street trees allow for shade on the sidewalk during the warmer months. It is a small comfort feature that few might think would be a result of planning, but rather a result of landscaping. Street trees also shade off store fronts from sunlight that would otherwise heat up the insides of the buildings, resulting in a greater need for air conditioning. In the colder months, trees shed their shade and allow the sun to heat up the insides of the buildings. Street trees are a small example of how landscaping can help improve energy efficiency.

Max Stember-Young, Rutgers University Student Intern, Vertices, LLC

Material drawn from: http://www.salisburypost.com/Area/062609-north-lee-street-utility-work

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Revisiting Community Visioning in Lexington, KY

A view of the rehabilitated area in Lexington, KY www.city-data.com

A view of the rehabilitated area in Lexington, KY http://www.city-data.com

Lexington, KY has been a city of earlier discussion on this site, so I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the city. One of the main sections of the city, the area surrounding Triangle Park, had been severely under utilized. Like a typical American city, disinvestment in the downtown areas in favor of suburban areas left this area of Lexington in need of a make over. But residents did not want to scrap the old architecture that had stood for many years and was part of the culture of the city. Instead, buildings in Victoria Square were allowed to stay even amongst new building codes thanks to the willingness of a few local preservation and revitalization advocates.

What had been a haven for rats, pigeons, graffiti, and the homeless, has now been transformed into an enjoyable square with restaurants and studio apartments overlooking Triangle Park.

The revitalization of this area of Lexington is a great example of how planning a community with the involvement of local residents can be a great tool for a successful rehabilitation project.

Take a moment to look at the picture (from http://www.city-data.com) above. Notice how nearly all the buildings are 3 stories, each building has a small relatively small building street fronts, and the buildings are real close together (in fact they are touching). This is typical of older style urban design and is very desirable for people. The streetscape of small banners, lights, and trees also contributes to this being a desirable area, and is an sample for good urban design.

Max Stember-Young, Rutgers University Student Inter, Vertices, LLC

Princeton Future: A community visioning plan for Princeton, NJ

A typical street scene on Nassau Street

A typical street scene on Nassau Street

Princeton has always been known for the small historic college town that it is. Princeton Future is a grassroots program designed to get the locals involved in the planning and policy of their town. There are several hot debates in Princeton about planning, and the one that I most consistently hear about is parking and traffic.

Thankfully, one meeting attendee “advocated a plan to get people out of their cars.” Now of course in this day of age it may be political suicide in most instances to take on people and their cars, but as planners and the local residents see their town continue to grow, the way to allieviate traffic and parking issues may be to limit the opportunities to have to drive.

For an example, the Town Topics weekly Princeton newspaper says that instead of granting variances to developers to meet parking requirements, developers should have to pay into a fund that should be designed to help mass transit options. The theory is that by doing so, it will help the traffic problem while also avoiding a need for more large parking areas. If by making public transit more accessible and convienient can help reduce each household by, on average, half a car, the fund should be viewed as a success.

However, as Kevin Wilkes puts it, “[sustainability] speaks to social and economic conditions, as well as those of energy and the environment.” He added: “[it is imperative] that we keep our population at all income levels present and happily working in town.” In other words, the whole goal of the visioning process should be catered around the needs of the people already living and working there, but also allow for economic growth. Many argue that Princeton’s parking problem is driving economic opportunities to more accessible places, so they need to create more parking to avoid such. However, I believe that planners must realize that catering too much to cars  destroys the walkability and small town feel that Princeton has been known and loved for.

Max Stember-Young, Rutgers University Intern, Vertices LLC

All material in this post have come from http://www.towntopics.com

Picture from Wikipedia (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/32/Holder_Tower_Nassau_Street_Princeton.jpg)