Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on February 18th, 2010 at 1:44 pm
(Photo: RG Construction)
From Streetsblog San Francisco comes word of interesting idea that seems like a natural fit for Portland:
“The city is about to unveil its newest plan to use its streets for something other than cars when it converts parking spaces to public space by extending sidewalks into the street with durable wood platforms.”
Streetsblog reports the project, which would transform two on-street parking spaces in front of a cafe into a mini-plaza, will be underway by the end of this month. The idea will be carried out through the City of San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks program.
Andres Power from the San Francisco Planning Department told Streetsblog, “We will take the occupation of a sidewalk off the sidewalk and move it into the parking lane.”
This is something Portland city planners should take note of.
We have several commercial districts that are in dire need of more human space: Think of Alberta, Hawthorne, and Mississippi streets just to name a few.
PBOT’s on-street bike corral program has been wildly successful (they’ll hit 50 corrals installed soon) so we already have a template for re-purposing parking space for non-traditional uses.
In addition, it seems like this “sidewalk extension” idea could fit into the Green Streets program run by the Bureau of Environmental Services. That program has grabbed headlines recently because Mayor Adams wants to use BES funds to pay for curb extensions and other infrastructure.
Extensions like this seem to have many of the “wins” that policy makers look for; they’re relatively cheap, they improve the health of the streetscape (and the people in it), they improve stormwater retention, then will help tame traffic speeds, and more.
Of course, this would make it much less likely that a cycle track would fit on the aforementioned streets, but the combination of fewer car doors to deal with and tamer traffic speeds would make taking the lane much easier.
What do you think? Is this an idea worth pursuing in Portland?