Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I spent part of yesterday's holiday walking, appropriately, up and down MLK from Alberta to Lombard as part of a project to survey the street in advance of a citizen-led push to extend the streetcar north from Broadway. The idea is to get a photographic record of the urban form on the boulevard and show both the nascent revival that is happening as well as the massive amount of poorly utilized land that someday could be home to high-density mixed-use development. The street really is nightmarish in stretches for the pedestrian: roaring traffic; too many buildings that don't come right up to the street; too many vacant lots with suburban owners; huge billboards; a median that encourages high speeds and makes turning impossible for long stretches. All of this adds up to a feedback loop that keeps businesses from being sustainable and prevents any sort of human-scale, walkable environment from flourishing. Can the streetcar tame the traffic? Get people making local trips out of their cars? Encourage mixed-use development? Make the street a destination rather than a place to get through? Can it be done in such a way that the existing cultural diversity is enriched and solidified?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

good god. a gorgeous set. thanks. -s

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a thoughtful post - should be turned into an article for the Oregonian.


12:23 PM  

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