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Intentional Impermanence: Complete Streets 2.0

Douglas Hausladen, New Haven’s transportation director, envisions building complete streets quickly through a fail-fast approach.
February 23, 2015, 5am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Paul Krueger

Faced with a long queue of complete streets projects and the prospect of implementing only one a year, Hausladen imagines a different way. Called Complete Streets 2.0, the project will substantially reduce costs by "failing often" via impermanent changes to street space.

Existing roads will be modified to better serve the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and buses. "That sounds like a major project, but by doing the job with paint, delineator tubes, and traffic bollards—rather than hard-engineered curbing—[Hausladen] says it can be done for less than $80,000."

If they fail to deliver desirable effects, New Haven can simply reverse the changes. Eric Jaffe reports that amateur "experimental urbanists" already apply extralegal fixes to the urban fabric. Hausladen wants to try out similar approaches officially.

While temporary road markers lack aesthetic appeal, surpassing theory and actually building complete streets might help the model spread.

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Published on Thursday, February 19, 2015 in CityLab
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