Monday, February 5, 2018

“Walk in confidence”

Imagine walking with your children to the transit hub on Sip Avenue in Jersey City or any major city. With your eyes concentrated on your well being and safety you start observing the intricate details of your commute that could easily lift the burden of your travel. First observation by walking would start with the travel and experience. The sidewalk experience and the pros and cons to effective connection to your destination.

“Jersey City Walks” is a workshop focusing on walk ability in Jersey City peers in on the effectiveness of public safety. Whether there commute to work or daily travels. Focusing on the authentic and ultimate experience for the users of the city. The initiative of the program the organization wants to initiate bump out modifications, street signage and improve sidewalk rest stops.
(Picture1) Above-example of sidewalk safety in most cities that needs upgraded

Visualize yourself walking on a sidewalk as you leave home. Your hands are burdened by purse, stroller, briefcase or children. As you pull out your phone, you notice the sidewalk and it’s faultiness. Safe sidewalks require even, well-maintained pavement, with no trip hazards. To expand inclusive communities and comply with the law, sidewalks must also comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Thoughtful design and development choices can support communities and improve their local economies and the lives of their residents.
(Picture 2) Illegal parking of firetruck and construction fence that closes the sidewalk while pedestrian (with a stroller) has to cross into the street with child creating a safety issue for the pedestrian.

Let’s progress to the effectiveness of bump out sidewalks and the effectiveness, while walking on the sidewalk. Colorful extensions added to the pavement for your safety and time. Creating an extension allows the safety and time to cross with confidence. With the added experience of the colorful, experience, the children will appreciate it. Curb extensions increase the overall visibility of pedestrians by aligning them with the parking lane and reducing the crossing distance for pedestrians.
(Picture 3) Example maple of curb extensions.

(Picture 4) Curb extension installed for pedestrian safety.
(Picture 5) Rest stops on sidewalk parking to give pedestrians and commuters a safe free zone to rest.

Here are some of the benefits of curb extensions:
  • Increased pedestrian visibility at intersections through improved sight lines
  • Decreased pedestrian exposure to vehicles by shortening the crossing distance
  • Reduced vehicle turn speeds by physically and visually narrowing the roadway
  • Increased pedestrian waiting space
  • Additional space for street furnishings, plantings and other amenities
  • Reduced illegal parking at corners crosswalks and bus stops
  • Facilitated ability to provide two curb ramps per corner

States are acknowledging the program and its benefits. Austin, Texas, has transformed busy street intersections with curb extension and the public really enjoys the security. “It's a testament to the character and energy of Austin,” says Marissa Monroy, public relations specialist for the city of Austin. “People are really excited to see a project that emphasizes safety but, at the same time, really shows that we like to have a little bit of fun".
(Picture 5) Austin, Texas, creative approach to curb extension.

All states should adapt to this standard of walkability. With all intricate changes for the safety of commuters, public knowledge is key. But officers and emergency vehicles should only abuse these initiatives if only there was an immediate emergency. Safety is affected, as it may urge people to illegally cross the road, which in turn puts them at greater risk to traffic accidents. Additional concerns the increased chances of getting fined by authorities. There are key points of improvement to true walkability in any city.

(Picture 6) Example of importance that public officials are unaware of the bump out system.

The Solution

The solution is simply urban planning. Strategies of altering and adding to the infrastructure can solve the use of public space to improve livability of the area. It is important to realise that successful planning techniques can often solve more than one problem and that urban problems are often linked with each other and environmental health. Once appropriate sidewalks are in place, people need ways to safely cross from one side of the street to the other, which brings us to crosswalk placement and marking.Crosswalks must be placed in areas where drivers have clear sight lines while also considering appropriate locations for ease of pedestrian travel.

We as architects, and urban designers firmly believe in the core principles of urbanism and safe communities. A movement that aims to develop the quality of life through sustainable urban development and creation of user friendly neighborhoods. A key tenant of urbanism is walkability, which we value as designers. People need community design features like recreational space, safe streets, landscaping, outdoor play space because it can contribute to enhance the neighborhood identity. With all of our projects, it is essential for us as architects to develop designs that are not only beautiful but resource efficient embraces its inhabitants, and foster vibrant communities.

We appreciate what Jersey City Walks is doing. Creating a safe city, drivers and enhancing pedestrian safety. This overall vision and strategy are a great initiative for the advancement of public safety.

National Association of City Transportation Officials “Urban Street Design Guide” Island Press. 2013 Web.

National Association of City Transportation Officials “Transit Street Design Guide” Island Press. 2013

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