streets | 511 Contra Costa

New and Improved StreetMix (2013)

Back in April of 2013 we shared an article about StreetMix, the fun web-based tool which lets you resize and rethink streets with mere clicks. When it launched, StreetMix was rather simplistic but that’s partially what made it so powerful and why we wrote about it– because of its ability to let everyday people redesign streets and plainly communicate ideas typically reserved for traffic engineers. StreetMix has since been updated with more details and ways to re-envision streets (light rail, and green-painted bike lanes, anyone?), but it has maintained its simple and user-friendly approach.
Take a look below for a comparison of what StreetMix used to look like and what it looks like today…
It certainly looks more polished and more aesthetically pleasing now, doesn’t it? It may explain why a growing number of neighborhood advocacy groups and city agencies are using the app.
Re-designing streets can be a for exercise for all ages and increasingly it has become necessary to design our streets to be inclusive places; StreetMix can help accomplish this goal. Asking youth how they might re-envision streets in their neighborhood using this tool can help inform the needs and decisions of tomorrow.
Check out the new and improved StreetMix!

StreetMix:Transforming Streets With Clicks

Whether you’re an aspiring transportation planner, traffic engineer, planning commissioner  or just want to know what your street would look like with a planted median and bus stops, StreetMix is an excellent web-based tool that lets you decide how to use the right of way of a street. Similar to Blockee, which we’ve highlighted in a previous post, StreetMix is incredibly simple to use and is especially helpful for anyone to experiment with the “what if” scenarios. Let’s take a look at just how easy it is to modify the use a roadway with StreetMix.
Below is a street that is 60 feet from curb to curb with 12 foot wide lanes– common in California…
…then with mere clicks of the computer you can modify lane widths and suddenly the street looks like this…
Now you can see what it would look like when lane widths are reduced…leaving enough room for bike lanes and the street is still 60 feet from curb to curb!
Scematics like the one above takes just a minute to create on StreetMix. Test your more elaborate ideas for your hometown – StreetMix lets you widen sidewalks, add planted medians, create dedicated bus lanes, narrow streets, widen street, and more.
Overall, StreetMix is a great demonstration tool that provides a visual of what a street would look like under various design schemes.  Try using it to design complete streets that serve all modes of transportation. Give it a try– it’s a lot of fun!

Re-Envisioning Streets in Three Simple Steps (2012)

A revamped Macdonald Avenue in Richmond– with street trees, crosswalk, solar powered street light and wifi hotspot.

Step 1) Select a streetview from Google Maps
Step 2) Add your favorite civic improvements– bike lanes, street lights, tress
Step 3) Share with your friends, neighborhood council, or any other interested party
 The genius concept behind Blockee– the newest, and perhaps easiest way to see your block with the civic improvements you want. You don’t need to be a professional landscape architect or graphic designer, just someone with a vision or interest in improving your local streetscape. Blockee reminds us that streets are more than places for cars– streets are public spaces that can can be fun, and lovable for people of all ages, and all modes of transportation.
Give it a try and see how easy it is to visualize street improvements in your neighborhood

Happy Parking Day, Walnut Creek!

Have you ever looked down a street and imagine what the space could be used for other than parking?  Residents in Walnut Creek must have ponder the idea this summer, because Walnut Creek hosted a beautiful “parklet” on PARK(ing) Day last month.
What’s a parklet? A parklet is a tiny park in a parking space. In downtown business districts with high auto and pedestrian traffic outdoor gathering spaces are sometimes scare and desired by some.  A single parking space is usually around 9 by 22 feet, so in a dense downtown, PARK(ing) Day invites people around the world to find new and fun things to fill those spaces.
PARK(ing) Day is an international event, and this was Walnut Creek’s first parklet.
Check out the gallery below. There are more pictures from the Greenbelt Alliance on Flickr.