Designing Streets for People, Not Just Cars Designing Streets for People, Not Just Cars

Designing Streets for People, Not Just Cars

by Zoë Prillinger

September 26, 2013

As a test case, we selected six blocks of Divisadero Street between Oak and Fulton. We chose Divisadero because it is an evolving, active pedestrian street with challenging traffic and, importantly, median strips. Not far away are the Panhandle and Alamo Square, two parks that this network could link to invigorate and soften the Divisadero corridor. In the larger context of the city, this network could develop at major streets and extend out to make green connections to parks. 

Along a path, each intersection has curb extensions, and the curbs rise up to create ridges to protect pedestrians, while providing planters and benches for the public space. A hatched crosswalk extends into the street to signal that it's a place for both cars and pedestrians. The median strip is integrated to create a physical link down the street to the next intersection, and a continuous planting strategy links the streets to adjacent parks. Planters at corners and median strips are managed as community gardens, fostering diversity and local ownership of the streetscape.

All this variation can be achieved by developing a limited infrastructural 'kit-of-parts' that can be deployed as the occasion requires.

This project starts by looking at something we rarely see—the humble curb—and asks it to do more. Specifically, how we might introduce natural forms into infrastructure to make a safe public space which is both communal and non-commercial, a more livable city?

Images courtesy of Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects

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Designing Streets for People, Not Just Cars