Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Draft State Street Plan Disappoints

Yesterday the City published the full draft State Street Corridor Plan as well as an abbreviated brochure.

Broadly speaking it disappoints and fails to express a thorough 21st century rethink on the corridor.

Incoherence and timidity is very clear in the brochure.

A chapter heading image shows a road diet
In a bit of a bait-and-switch they show a road diet on one of the images at the head of a "chapter."

Since the recommendation is not for a road diet (except the four blocks between 13th and 17th), a more representative image would have been a photo version of the four through-lane section, which is the majority of the corridor. It would be stroady, of course, and almost certainly not show a vibrant urban streetscape, but that's where the recommendation goes.

In the brochure they also discuss "Elements of Strong Street Design," at least implicitly pointing to the disjunction.

The elements of strong street design
The recommended "hybrid alternative" lacks many elements of a strong street design. (They could point this out more strongly, of course.)

The hybrid recommendation lacks
elements of strong street design
Our addiction to hydraulic autoism and a misguided attachment to "levels of service" analysis for 2035 has watered down and neutered the plan.

At 12th Street it doesn't connect to visions for making State Street two-way in downtown, and the autoism at 17th to 25th means any bike lane between 13th and 17th will be orphaned, of limited usefulness, and crucially will retain gaps in connectivity. The stub of a bike lane doesn't create connections. Only a complete corridor can do that.

All in all this looks like another missed opportunity.

The full plan will take a little longer to review, and there may be more to say then - more nuance, especially. It would be interesting to learn more about why the full road diet alternative continues to be slighted in the face of strong support. (The land use side might offer more optimism.)

From July: Consensus on zoning, but not on the street
The City's State Street project page is here, and previous discussion here. All notes on the project are collected here.

1 comment:

Susann Kaltwasser said...

I heard that they might be having another public meeting and reconsider the plan. Hope that happens because the road model works.

We had a road diet out on Sunnyview Road years ago and it helped make the street safer by slowing cars down, giving a safe place to wait to turn, and provided bike lanes. No fancy landscaping, they just respired the street....cost of pain a few thousand dollars.

To bad that not many people ever use the bike lanes, because there is no real buffer between cars and bikes, but at least they are there to help buffer from the cars.