Streets Are For People
Streets represent one of our largest areas of public space within our cities and prior to the proliferation of motor vehicles they had a long history of being vibrant, activity rich, people oriented places.
After 80 plus years of transforming our streets into “traffic sewers” (prioritizing the swift movement of motor vehicles) cities and advocates are now actively striving to take back the streets and deliver them back to the people. These efforts and initiatives go by many names, including: complete streets policies, vision zero initiatives and tactical urbanism implementations, just to name a few. Fortunately, they are resulting in a variety of encouraging on-the-ground “all ages and abilities” oriented transformations, including: protected bike lanes, pedestrian priority zones and motor vehicle travel lane narrowing and reductions.
The intersections, however, are some of the biggest barriers to streets becoming truly safe and inviting Activity Assets. Over time we’ve come to appreciate the simplicity, beauty and functionality of people oriented roundabouts, traffic circles and shared space.
To be clear, we’re not big fans of over engineered, high speed, motor vehicle prioritized modern roundabouts that result in the treatment of people choosing to walk or bike as if they are second class citizens.
We think that North America could benefit greatly from the more frequent use of these intersection treatments. Thus we’ve launched an advocacy and awareness effort called “In a Roundabout Way” on social media to encourage the discussion, exploration and implementation of low speed roundabouts, small footprint traffic circles as well as shared space and we invite you to join in on the conversation.