Removing Sidewalks to Make Room for Peds

WAMU's Michael Pope reports on an Alexandria, VA's plan to level the playing field for bikes, pedestrians and cars by taking out curbs.

December 28, 2012, 9:00 AM PST

By jerinbrent


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sabreguy29 / Flickr

Based on the European concept of shared streets, city leaders in Alexandria have proposed a street design that would level the street from building face to building face. The open street is meant to create uncertainty, and greater alertness, for drivers. The city's consultant, Dan Goodman, says, "The basic idea of the shared street is that it's designed in a way that allows for the safe sharing of the space between all of the different modes so bikes and cars and pedestrians all have access to that space."

The plan, still in a preliminary design stage, seems counterintuitive to many Alexandrians.

"It shows a remarkable faith in human nature to expect this to happen, and I'm sure we'd like it to be true. But is it true or is it just a case of the emperor's new clothes?" asks Poul Hertel.

Business leaders along the street in question seem to favor the idea, however. Eager to increase foot traffic, business owner Judy Manor says, "We live in a changing world. Cars are becoming less dominant. People don't own cars as much. One of the reasons people come to live in Alexandria in part is because you can be here without a car."

Friday, December 21, 2012 in WAMU

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