Sneckdowns 4: Ain’t Snow Stoppin’ Us Now

Photo: ##https://twitter.com/BrooklynSpoke/statuses/419203406059016193##@BrooklynSpoke## via ##https://twitter.com/urbandata/status/434052182002774016##@urbandata##
Photo: @BrooklynSpoke and Transportation Alternatives

Since our last round-up, the sneckdown has drawn attention from publications as varied as The Economist, The Week, Fast Company, Village VoiceAtlantic Cities, and Treehugger. With coverage and photos piling up like so much traffic-calming slush, sneckdown emissary and archivist Clarence Eckerson posted a detailed explainer, dating the concept back to the 1990s. Meanwhile, the city of Raleigh asked residents to send photos of “wasted space at intersections.” Clearly, even amid the chaotic weather, the idea that there should be more room for people on U.S. streets has struck a chord.

There is a rumor that WPIX reporter Arthur Chi’en is putting together a sneckdown segment for tonight. While we look forward to that, here are some shots taken in New York City over the last week. For more, check out what sneckdown spotters are seeing in Boston, Seattle, Kansas City, Oklahoma CityLouisville, and Omaha.

Photo: ##https://twitter.com/Streetfilms/status/432944105409101825##@Streetfilms##
34th Avenue and 85th Street, Jackson Heights. Photo: ##https://twitter.com/Streetfilms/status/432944105409101825##@Streetfilms##

Photo: ##https://twitter.com/AlexWithAK/status/434067012621717504##@AlexWithAK##
Columbus Circle. Photo: ##https://twitter.com/AlexWithAK/status/434067012621717504##@AlexWithAK##
Photo: Jennifer Aaron
Reade and Greenwich Streets. Photo: Jennifer Aaron
Clinton Street and Amity Street. Photo: ##https://twitter.com/nilsd/status/431791802199601152/photo/1##@nilsd##
Clinton Street and Amity Street. Photo: ##https://twitter.com/nilsd/status/431791802199601152/photo/1##@nilsd##
Thompson and Spring Streets. Photo: ##https://twitter.com/katehinds/status/434101464517316610##@katehinds##
Thompson and Spring Streets. Photo: ##https://twitter.com/katehinds/status/434101464517316610##@katehinds##
Jackson Heights. Photo: ##https://twitter.com/PurpleClarence/status/432957590159785984##@PurpleClarence##
Jackson Heights. Photo: ##https://twitter.com/PurpleClarence/status/432957590159785984##@PurpleClarence##
  • New Streetsie idea: Best/Worst Puns. This series wins in both categories.

  • red_greenlight1

    I love how the “Future Pedestrian Refuge” is right in the path of the bike lane. Way to go T.A.! http://i.stack.imgur.com/jiFfM.jpg

  • Three things:

    1. I didn’t make the mock-up. I took the picture.*

    2. If you did as drastic a redesign as this picture suggests, you’d probably move the painted bike lane and turn it into something protected. In fact, there’s a plan to make a protected bike lane near this intersection that’s been floating around CB2 for years.

    3. If you read any of the sneckdown stories – six links in this post alone! – Clarence does a great job of explaining that the whole craze is meant to be a conversation starter for how we allocate street space. A sneckdown is not a 1:1 representation for What. Must. Happen.

    *That’s not to “blame” TA, which did the mock-up. The wonderful people there understand the sneckdown phenomenon better than anyone.

    http://transalt.org/files/news/magazine/012Spring/09snowcalming.html

  • com63

    I saw something on the local news last night about sneckdowns. I don’t remember what channel. This might be the WPIX segment you mention.

  • The mock up of the street by T.A. is meant to be possibilities in general. Not a specific plan. The point is this intersection is over-engineered for cars and not safe for people. It can be done better. Even the most robust traffic engineer believing in our ideals would not take back all the inches of all three of those identified pockets for improvement. But could you take back lots of space. You betcha!

  • Last night Fox5 had an item, but it was pretty sloppy with the facts. Though welcome to have any highlighting of better ped environments on the airwaves.

  • Aaron Naparstek has already come up with “plowza.”

  • red_greenlight1

    My apologies at the time Streetsblog didn’t say it was from TA.

  • JohnS.

    What I’m noticing is the narrowing of two lane, two way streets into one lane, two way streets, in residential neighborhoods. Motorist will wait for on coming traffic to pass either at the intersection or where there is an open parking space. Why not make this into a permanent traffic calming design? The extra space could be made into a buffered bike lane.

  • Kevin Love

    Notice how Columbus Circle’s sneckdown looks very much like a protected roundabout. For an example of a protected roundabout in concrete instead of snow, see:

    http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/simon-stevinweg-%CA%BCs-hertogenbosch/

  • douglasawillinger

    Like the Central Park types funding Streetsblog, they forget about trucks, turning radii etc, as if the food just magically appears.

  • cx

    Well if the choice is large trucks, cheap food, and dead pedestrians versus small trucks, slightly more expensive food, and no dead pedestrians I’ll take the latter. Set up a new food distribution center if need be that takes deliveries from large trucks, and sends out small trucks, or vans, or cars to stores depending on order size.

  • A. Vandelay

    I do hope anyone who thinks this stuff is a good idea isn’t trapped in a burning building if this nonsense is ever implemented. When seconds count because this sort of thing slows fire trucks down when responding.

  • qrt145

    How many people are killed in burning buildings in NYC every year? I don’t know, but I suspect it’s less than the number of people killed by drivers of vehicles. Anyway, you present it as a false choice: it’s possible to calm traffic and still have a decent fire truck response time (plenty of cities do it). Plus, if the single most important thing in the world were fire truck response time, we would ban all other traffic, wouldn’t we? What really slows fire trucks is gridlock. And no, it’s not cause by traffic calming: it’s primarily caused by an excessive number of vehicles on the road.

  • Kevin Love

    Right. Because people in the car-free zones of major European and Japanese cities are being burned to cinders. Or not.

    Please try to embrace a little common sense.

  • Nice try. If we had curb extensions on every corner (we can also build them with mountable curbs for larger vehicles if need be) then firetrucks would actually improve their arrival times since cars would be set back from the corners. It would actually open up intersections.

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