October 25, 2005
Indulging My Obsession with Crosswalks
Regular readers will know that I have a bit of a thing about our crosswalks (or lack thereof) in Portland and like to bring back examples from other cities that take them seriously.
So here are two examples from Prague. The first is a run-of-the-mill crosswalk found at most corners - not radically different in concept from what we do in Portland.
But the 2nd, shown from the viewpoint of both the motorist and the pedestrian is something else entirely. There are actually two steps in the street that the car has to go over!
From the driver's point of view, this definitely looks like a barrier. From the pedestrian's point of view, it's very inviting!
Come on PDOT, let's get some of these out there on Portland's streets.
October 25, 2005 12:05 PM
Lenny Anderson Says:
There is a fine opportunity for this style of crosswalk on Mississippi Avenue between Beech and Failing in North Portland. Its a long block, on one side is the very successful Mississippi Commons with a very pedestrian oriented design. On the other is a warehouse that is slated to be redeveloped, presumably into some kind of complementary project.
Raised crossings at both corners and mid-block would make for slower traffic, safer ped environment, yet allow for movement of all types of vehicles including the 4 bus.
This community might welcome such an innovation (for Portland); a new large off-street bike rack was proposed, approved, funded and built in record time just up the street.
October 25, 2005 2:39 PM
I would like to see what materials could be used for such a crosswalk/ speed bump that would last. The Prague crosswalk, and roadway, is made of incredibly durable cobblestones. Our material choices in America are always much more short-term in use (look at our transit mall materials or Front Avenue or any Portland street). It would be nice if a road or crosswalk would be built without having to repave for 200 years and utility work wouldn't leave deteriorating scars.
October 25, 2005 9:20 PM
Chris Smith Says:
I think we are going to find similar cobblestones in Amsterdam. They are much more labor intensive, but also easier to restore after digging up for water lines, etc.
They are also beautiful, particularly the geometric patterns of colors!
October 26, 2005 8:42 AM
Let me second your idea for Mississippi Street. The design from Pague would fit in perfectly with the historical nature of the street and the confluence of new businesses and cultural activities would make the sidewalk a nice show piece for the city. Additionally, this would calm some of the speeding traffic flying up and down the street... lots of dogs, kids and other peds about now. It would be nice to do this before someone is mowed down by a truck. What about it Chris? Want to champion this to the city?
Also Lenny, do you know what the wharehouse across the street is slated to be? I would like to buy it and develop a theater/pub (if I had money that is).
October 26, 2005 9:17 AM
Lenny Anderson Says:
All I know is the warehouse, Richards or something like that, has leased space elsewhere in North Portland...in an industrial area.
A commercial realtor in North Portland might know more.
Sorry I'm not more help; your idea would fit right in on Mississippi, but there is already a hall at the corner of Shaver, Mississippi Commons.
Note that pavers are very common in Germany...yes labor intensive, but easy to remove for utility work, etc. Also cobbles...which Portland has in abundance...will last forever, but are not too much fun to ride a bike or walk over for longer distances.
We need to remember that the Street is a public space and at certain times and places needs to be a place for everyone, not just motorized vehicles.