Sneckdowns: Nature's Street Safety Pilot Project

It's hard to imagine how the wintry mess blanketing cities across midwest and northeast could improve street safety. But recent snows provide one benefit being touted by safety advocates: temporary curb extensions or "neckdowns" caused by snow banks.

January 25, 2014, 7:00 AM PST

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


Small sneckdown at Hampshire and Elm in Cambridge, MA

Nels Nelson / Twitter

Having trouble convincing local officials or neighbors that curb extensions or "neckdowns" can improve pedestrian safety without taking necessary space away from vehicles? Maybe all you need is a good snowstorm, so that "nature's tracing paper" can create a temporary, but educational, snowy neckdown–or "sneckdown", writes Kate Dailey.  

"When that snow piles up at a lot of intersections in neighbourhoods, you see that space where they could put a kerb extension," says Clarence Eckerson Jr, the director of StreetFilms. "The cars still can make the turn, including trash trucks and school buses, but you see the slow, more deliberate turn around the corner instead of cutting it."

"'It's like watching an experiment in progress. It's a chance to learn from what people actually do in some circumstances,' says David Ramos, a Washington DC resident with an interest in urban planning."

To see examples of nature's street safety pilot project at work check out the #sneckdown hashtag on Twitter.

Friday, January 24, 2014 in BBC News

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