Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A reminder about winter-time conditions for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users

WEATHER-USA/Drew, 2, struggles with a snow shovel as he helps his father clear the sidewalk outside their home on Capitol Hill in Washington February 8, 2010. The federal government announced it would remain closed on Monday and most schools planned to shut down as residents of the mid-Atlantic struggled to dig out from a blizzard that dumped two feet of snow on the region. REUTERS/Jason Reed.

Last winter season, we didn't have much snow, so it wasn't much of an issue.n But that doesn't mean we shouldn't prepare.

Ideally, before it snows, cities committed to sustainable transportation have already been planning for "maintenance of way" for people on foot and bike, not just for cars.

This post "Snow reminds us of the necessity of a "maintenance of way" agenda for the "sustainable mobility city"" covers the gist of the argument.

Night-time lighting.  Similarly, as winter approaches it gets darker earlier. Cities ought to pay better attention to night time safety on walking and bike routes. See "Night-time safety: rethinking lighting in the context of a walking community" and "Lighting as an element of urban design and community identity."

Lighting master plans.  Some communities, like Eindhoven, Netherlands, have lighting master plans. That plan has six elements:
  • urban lighting (streets, public areas)
  • buildings and objects
  • art (indoor and outdoor)
  • events and festivals
  • information
  • advertising.
San Diego has a Downtown Lighting Plan, which includes subplans for sub-districts, such as Little Italy and the Gaslamp District.

Current developments in the DC area.  More recently, Arlington County has announced they will be providing snow clearance on trails in the county ("Arlington to plow up to 10 miles of bike trails after snowstorms," Washington Post)   And DC has announced new regulations concerning sidewalk snow clearance ("D.C. residents, businesses face fines for not shoveling snow,"  Washington Post).  Montgomery County is moving forward on similar planning ("Montgomery to create plan for snow removal from sidewalks," Gazette).

Best practices.  The Minnesota DOT has a best practices report on Pedestrian snow removal best practices and lessons learned.

And FHWA has similar information, but focused on roads: Best Practices - FHWA Road Weather Management.

Snow removal at the White HouseA snow blower vehicle clears snow from a driveway around the White House in Washington under heavy snowfall February 6, 2010.  REUTERS/Yuri Gripas.

"Stunts."  If I had run for Ward 4 city council this coming April, one of the campaign stunts I had planned was to get a "snow brush" and clear some of the major routes in the Ward, such as around Petworth Metro, along Georgia Avenue, in Takoma and the Takoma Metro, etc.

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