Friday, August 15, 2008

Landscape Architecture, Planning and Architecture; sidewalks, curbs, streets and parking.

Oscar's, Couture
Originally uploaded by With Any Luck

Originally uploaded by franklinavenue2008

Which sidewalk would you rather walk on?
Everytime I drive by a new development I think to myself "why?" Why are they building it like that? Oh, and especially when they are advertising an "urban" lifestyle. Why do they constantly screw it up? Let's think about our cities for a while. Let's discuss first our streets.
What makes someone want to walk on the sidewalk? Accessibility.

Let's perform an autopsy on un-walkable city streets.
1.Streets that are 2-4 lanes going each way. That makes 8 lanes to cross (I've seen 10 in Irvine, CA! Main&MacArthur
2a. No parking curbside.
2b. Sidewalk. sometimes with some trees as a buffer to the street
3. A buffer typically of turf or some shrubs probably rhaphiolepis
4. A parking lot
5. and THEN the building

Now let's dissect a walkable city street

1. Usually 2 lanes going each way making a 4 lane street
2. Parking on the street which creates a buffer between the pedestrians and traffic.
3. Sidewalk again sometimes with trees.
4. Building

Now think about it. Do you want to cross 6-10 lanes? 100 ft? or 4 lanes 40 ft?
When you walk on the sidewalk, would you rather walk along moving cars or parked cars?
Do you want to walk across a parking lot to get to a building or do you want the building's entrance to be a few steps away?
By putting the building entrance along the sidewalk you are forcing people to walk along the sidewalk. Putting the building in the right spot but moving the entrance around does NOT help. Why would I even want to use the sidewalk if the entrance isn't there?
Wouldn't a street front store increase business? There would be heavy foot traffic causing more exposure as opposed to cars whizzing by your store on the other side of the parking lot.
Removing parking lots is a GOOD idea. Increasing street parking is a GOOD idea, and having fewer lanes is a GOOD idea.

Final food for thought, Think of the most famous streets in Los Angeles County, one of the least walkable metropolitan areas in the country.(remember that song "Nobody walks in LA"?)
Melrose, Sunset, Hollywood, and sometimes Rodeo, Think about it, now go there. You'll see what I'm talking about.
edit* (those streets I mentioned are very walkable hence the mentioning of such, they did it right in those areas)


Anonymous said...

Los Angeles is NOT the least walkable city in the country dear. You're relying on old cliches about the city, as propagated in the old song that you cited. Los Angeles has lots of areas which are not walkable, but many, many more pedestrian neighborhoods are sprouting up all over the city, becoming more interconnected and more complex. It's truly possible to walk in pedestrian neighborhoods from Downtown, through Koreatown or Echo Park, to Silverlake/Los Feliz, through Hollywood or Miracle Mile (or Melrose Beverly to the north), to Beverly Hills, Century City/Pico Robertson, Westwood, Brentwood and Santa Monica. That would be a long-ass walk admittedly, but all through pedestrian neighborhoods. I would suggest that you can do similar walks all across L.A. County. Another one would be from Pasadena near Cal Tech, through Lake Avenue, Paseo Colorado, Old Town, Colorado Blvd. through Eagle Rock to Glendale, through the Americana, Brand Blvd./Galleria to Burbank on San Fernando, through downtown Burbank, down Magnolia or Victory to North Hollywood along Lankersheim, to Universal City and Hollywood. Granted, there are a few patches en route that may not be as hospitable, but if you want to see these routes I'd be happy to show you. I'll bet that you can find many such routes and linkages throughout the San Gabriel Valley to Pomona, parts of Orange County and the South Bay.
L.A. is a great walking city. It's citizens are just disc overing it!

Neel said...

I think you are confusing Riverside & Orange County with Los Angeles County. There's no walkability in Riverside & OC. In LA, spend a day in downtown, Hollywood, Venice, the South Bay Beaches, Pasadena, Santa Monica, etc.. all the beach areas. People are walking from their house to the entertainment areas. There's also taxis, the largest bus system in the nation, and Metro rail.

I think you are giving the wrong impression of Los Angeles. Once you live in the City, you'll have a different perception.

Anduhrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brigs said...

I agree with the other two that LA has very walkable areas and that the expanding rail lines (Expo and Eastside Gold Line) will help the movement/cause toward LA becoming a more transit-oriented city. It takes time, and you're starting to see more and more mixed-use projects sprouting up all over the damn place! Downtown LA, Hollywood, Pasadena, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Westwood/UCLA, etc. are all very walkable. We just need to connect all these pocket islands of walkability with rail service.

Anduhrew said...

I agree with them also. see the new blog

Anduhrew said...

where i list some walkable regions in so cal from my own experience. Let's not forget i was mentioning the County and not the City. and the streets I mentioned ARE examples of Walkable areas.