practical and tactical
December 16, 2017 11:15 AM   Subscribe

Leafy Neckdowns: Cornstarch, Water & Leaves Reshape Unsafe Intersection. Like the snowy neckdowns, or 'sneckdowns' of years past, light, quick and cheap elements are used to shape public space.

The neckdowns are a home-made traffic calming solution, a kind of guerilla urbanism, and lessons from Blizzard 2016 can lead to curb extensions and turn re-design

The Tactical Urbanist's Guide To Materials and Design
Tactical Urbanism: Short-Term Action, Long-Term Change
Garcia: I think the big difference is that with Tactical Urbanism, you're really looking to build something—it brings the ideas that we put down on paper to life. It springs from the idea that walkable, compact communities are what we should be doing, and how do we get back to that goal? Tactical urbanism short-circuits the normal process of the charrette and builds on it in a way that is not obvious to most people who are not new urbanists—but the whole idea of “test before you invest” is analogous to a charrette, it's analogous to doing sketches after sketches on a site to try to get to some sort of a solution. That’s what urban designer Victor Dover calls, "Propose and dispose." The charrette is all about hashing out those ideas on paper. And our work just takes it another step further and says, "Why stop at the paper? Why stop at the rendering? Let's just build the thing and see if it works."
"Though projects tend to be hyper-local and temporary, Do It Yourself, Tactical, or Guerrilla Urbanism is an endorsement of the top-down planning model, rather than a repudiation.," like the San Francisco Transformation Authority: Spurred by S.F. Cyclist Deaths, Guerrilla Safe Streets Activists Take Action

Tactical Urbanism or Public Vandalism?

see also: Guerrilla Public Service, Guerilla Public Seating, Guerilla Wayfinding
posted by the man of twists and turns (11 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

Thanks for this. You and your post have inspired my summer project (if I can find a way to do it cheaply.) I want to make guerrilla direction signs for our disconnected and hard navigate suburban bike paths. They just stop, with no hints on where to go to find the next section.

My wife says we need one at a nearby intersection saying "Red light? Stop before turning right, check left for peds and bikes" or something similar.
posted by cccorlew at 11:41 AM on December 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

Leafy neckdowns, now on sale at Apple Cabin Foods.
posted by darksasami at 11:45 AM on December 16, 2017 [19 favorites]

Somewhat related: Reddit's appreciation of desire paths.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:59 AM on December 16, 2017

My city has actually been marking roads that had weird lane sizes to give them standard sized lanes. For some reason there are a lot of roads here that are too wide for one two lanes but not wide enough for three. You can see here on Second Avenue if you scroll back in time on Street View it used to be 1.5 lanes each way which led to some ill-advised attempts at passing.
posted by octothorpe at 12:02 PM on December 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

Yes!! I saw this a little while ago, but this is a much better post than I might have made about it.

Stuff like this benefits pedestrians and drivers alike, by giving drivers clearer guidance on what their options are at a given intersection. So often, the debate gets framed as drivers vs. pedestrians and cyclists, but it really isn't about that, it's about making streets safer and more efficient and more pleasurable to use for EVERY road user.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:06 PM on December 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

I like guerrilla road planning as long as it results in long-term change (does it?) and everyone is careful not to hurt anyone.
posted by pracowity at 12:10 PM on December 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

Mez is a national treasure.
posted by scruss at 1:06 PM on December 16, 2017

I've been thinking quite a lot about pedestrian safety and urban design lately, so this is interesting, thanks.

And now, because I have no one else to annoy with this information, I'll tell MetaFilter why I've been thinking quite a lot about Pedestrian safety and urban design lately:

There's a neckdown at the end of my street on the larger street where it meets ours. Which I suppose might help calm traffic on the larger street so people can safely cross there. Except it's a T-intersection, and if you cross the larger street there, there's neither a curb cut-out nor the piece of sidewalk necessary to make it from the street to the sidewalk that runs along the far side, which is offset from the street by about 4 feet of grass.

It's not a big deal in the summer, though the grass can be a bit steep and slippery when it rains, but now winter is here, so that four feet of grass is covered in 8 inches of plowed up snow. If you go down to the next intersection, you have the same situation in reverse. A T-insterection and the sidewalk over there is shielded by a neckdown, but there's no way to actually reach the sidewalk over here. Same in the other direction. And so on and so forth for about half a kilometer in each direction.

So while they've very carefully made it possible for people to safely cross roads that 6 months of the year they cannot actually cross because of missing curb cuts. Which also means people in wheelchairs, with walkers, with strollers, etc, can't cross at any time of year. There are a few places along the way that private driveways line up well enough with intersections that you don't have to go the entire half kilometer out of your way to safely cross the street, but the overall lack of clear thinking is kind of enraging.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:36 PM on December 16, 2017 [9 favorites]

There's a mall near me where the city recently built new physical infrastructure to change traffic patterns, to help calm mall-induced traffic on local streets. The number of drivers who ignore directional arrows, and pull ridiculous multi-point turns to get around this is ridiculous.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 3:07 PM on December 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

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