April 13, 2005

So What Does A Pedestrian-Friendly Downtown Street Look Like?

The Western News publishes one architect's sketch of what a pedestrian-encouraging streetscape might look like in Libby, Montana.

Take a look. You'll see not simply the presence of a sidewalk, but a sidewalk with a pedestrian-friendly building fronting it -- up at the streetscape, not set back behind a parking lot, with on-street seating, as well as greenery.

Put a strip mall there, front the sidewalk with an asphalt parking lot instead of the building and outdoor seating, and it becomes a pedestrian-hostile environment. Like most of Framingham.

Folks, it's not just about attracting the "right" kinds of businesses to a downtown. If the buildings, sidewalks and streetscape are not designed to encourage the kind of street activity we want, then we'll either get kinds of street activities we DON'T want, or no downtown activity at all.

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