Close Shave: Where can we shave streets for parks and pedestrians?

When looking through the collaborative zoning map recently I was struck by a comment in my neighborhood. Someone had suggested turning a stretch of Albermarle Rd., which has no driveways, into parkland. It made complete sense since the one-block road is unnecessary. In fact, a few years ago the city made the left-hand turn there illegal because people were using it as a way to avoid a traffic light.

This also came to mind when I watched the video about Washington Street and saw how changes in the street can take are

‘The notion that Washington St. should be narrowed from 2 lanes in each direction down to one lane is ludicrous.’

That quote in the headline comes from this comment on a prior thread. But the “notion” that narrowing a street can improve traffic flow was also a hot topic last night at the very well-attended opening Washington Street Corridor vision event at the Second Church.

This “notion” comes from the video (below) made by by Jeff Speck, a renowned expert on this topic (with transit experts Nelson/Nygaard) who has documented where similar techniques have been successfully employed to improve traffic elsewhere.

I understand why this idea of putting a road on “a diet” sounds “ludicrous.” But before you rush to dismiss it, please take the time to watch this video. And then share your thoughts.

The Washington Street Corridor Proposal from Elkus Manfredi on Vimeo.

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