When most cities consider a change in the infrastructure of their transportation system, the typical modus operandi is for city officials to sit indoors and look at drawings and written proposals. But what if city street improvements could be brought into the real world — into all three dimensions so that people could not only consider, but actually see, the changes that may or may not take place?
The city of Cleveland, Ohio is experimenting with this more “live” concept of proposed downtown street improvements in a project the city is pioneering called Pop Up Rockwell. Here’s the lowdown, via the masterminds behind it all, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC):
POP UP ROCKWELL is a one-week experiment to test “complete & green street” improvements on downtown Cleveland’s Rockwell Avenue (between W. Roadway and E. 6th Street), which took place during April 21 to 27, 2012. The temporary street transformation explores fresh ideas for making the street more pedestrian and bicyclist friendly. Going beyond two-dimensional drawings used in typical public meetings, Pop Up Rockwell allows people to physically experience a future vision of the city in three dimensions, in a real environment, and provide feedback before large financial and political investments are made.
The temporary installations included “Cleveland’s first cycle track, stormwater bio-filtration benches, enhanced transit waiting areas and wind animated public art” for city residents to experience — and potentially put into real-life practice in the future. According to CUDC, Pop Up Rockwell was pioneered as a response to the community’s desire to see real life action in between the formal and often slow-moving stages of planning and actual implementation. As CUDC puts it, “Lessons learned from the short-term project may influence permanent changes, which support the City of Cleveland’s Complete & Green Streets Ordinance and Group Plan Commission recommendations.”
With all of this we feel compelled to ask: Should more cities implement temporary pop up street improvements so citizens can experience them and potentially choose to have a voice in regard to the real-life changes that may or may not take place? Would you be excited to see a pop up street in your city?
Every Monday on Lane Love, we’ll be featuring bicycling news, stories and photos from around the world. Have a lane that you love? Send us a photo! You can post it to our Facebook page or upload to our Flickr group and we might just feature it here on Lane Love.