Michael Diamante, New Urbanism Facebook Group

A bit dilapidated section of rue Pierre Timbaud in Gennevilliers (Paris area) was transformed to mixed use buildings in historism style.

There are many new fashion words in today’s urban planning. To mention a few we have “placemaking”, “walkability” and “sustainability”. What most planners fail to understand is that none of today’s challenges are new. The demands of today’s city doesn’t differ that much from the city of the early 1900s. Officials then planned according to needs of mobility, hygiene, greenery and unlike today also beauty. What they succeeded with then were the most livable and resilient cities ever created. Thus, success should be found in emulating their planning rather then trying to reinvent the wheel. One country that has a great many new traditionalist urbanism projects is France. By recreating the conditions of the older city parts, they create vibrant streets that are successful from the start.This project is from the inner suburbs of Paris. A dead street was given life with height regulated low rises in a simple but aesthetic traditional inspired style, tram connection and beautiful cobbled stoned pavement. Some but not all houses have storefronts in the base level. Incroyable.

Project completion: 2014
Architect firm: Organic Architecture (https://www.organic.archi/)

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How to navigate a roundabout

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Do you know how fast you were going?

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The Impact of Speed

This drawing can help us understand the impact of speed in collisions involving pedestrians.

Being hit by a car at 70km/h (43mph) is like falling off the 6th floor of a building. If it is 50km (31mph), it is equivalent to falling from the 3rd floor and 30km (19mph) from the 1st floor. Speed kills. Slowing down saves MANY lives.

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A 25-year laboratory of suburban transformation (CNU)

Orenco Station in Hillsboro, Oregon, is a powerful model for more sustainable suburbs and regions.


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Do we really need these big honkin’ medians?!

Barry Watkins, 7/9/2021

Medians are great. They make our streets safer. But why do we build them so big around here? I mean, I’ve noticed that officials and engineers will say we don’t have enough room to add any space between the sidewalk and the vehicle lanes. After all, right of way width is very expensive! So, we jam a 5′ sidewalk right next to the curb or maybe add a 1′ strip of grass between the sidewalk and speeding vehicles, but then build a massive 30′ wide median.

sidewalk us192 melbourne fl

Small grass strip and sidewalk. US192, Melbourne, Florida

wide median us192 melbourne fl

Plenty of space give to this massive median! US192,  Melbourne, Florida

FDOT Median HandbookDoes this make any sense? If right of way is so expensive why such a wide median? Why not cut down the median size a little so we can have room for some landscaping between the sidewalk and the curb? The FDOT Median Handbook says we don’t have to build them this big. FDOT recommends 30′ medians and gives some reasons why, but when space is a consideration there are many smaller options shown in the handbook that will work great.Then, we could have a little more room on the side of the street to do some cool things like this:

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Street Trees in front of Brevard County Administration Building, Viera, Florida

It’s critical that we continue the culture shift away from exclusive car dominance and toward safer streets for all users: drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians! Officials and engineers, please, let’s make this change! Let’s give a little more attention to pedestrian and cyclist safety. Giving more space on the side of the road and less waste of space in the middle is just one easy way to create a completely different outcome on our streets around town. Join our discussions at facebook.com/groups/walkablebrevard and Twitter.com/walkablebrevard, Walkable Brevard, Melbourne, Florida, walkablebrevard@gmail.com, 321-355-2747, Barry Watkins, Founder

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Going Down the Rabbit Hole of Sprawl Repair (Strong Towns)

It’s very easy to get caught up in beautiful renderings but the truth is, most of suburbia is beyond repair. We must make strategic investments in the places that have the best chance for success.

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Creating a downtown where none existed before | Build a Better Burb

Imagine a university town without a downtown. This was the case in Storrs, Connecticut, home to UConn, the state’s flagship university. Having no downtown made it hard to recruit students and staff, but even worse, there was no central gathering space for the university community or the townspeople to come together to celebrate, dine, shop, or take care of everyday needs, such as grocery shopping or doctor visits.

This all changed with the completion of Storrs Center in December 2016, when a brand-new, walkable downtown was delivered after six years of construction, preceded by five years in the approval process and a delay of the market crash. The downtown was built on the site of a former commercial strip highway next to the university. Public officials and townspeople had a big part in making this happen. Here are three keys to the transformation:

Full article here

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Manual for Designing Safe Streets (via ITE, The Institute of Transportation Engineers)


Yes, there is a manual for that: ITE Context Sensitive Streets Design Manual

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We Need Some Trees Here!

Barry Watkins, 03 May 2019


I went out and walked the #WalkTheRock 5.5 mi walking trail yesterday. It was a bright sunny day and it was hot! This stretch of pathway along Eyster Blvd in Rockledge, shown in the picture above, sure could use some shade. Our walkability plan (Rockledge Walkability Plan, Post #1 – Why a Walkable Rockledge?) among other things would require shade trees along all of the streets in our populated areas. Looking at the picture above it’s not too hard to see why that’s a good idea, is it?


Then I eventually came to this wonderful spot with some trees next to the sidewalk near Kennedy MS. Wow, what a difference! There was a breeze that didn’t help too much in the blazing sun, but in the shade? Oh, yeah, it was probably only a few degrees cooler, but it felt like at least a 10 degree difference. Check out our previous post about street trees and the benefits they bring: Yeah, Trees Bring a Lot of Benefits (via Friends of the Urban Forest)

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