|Image Credit: http://www.janeswalk.net|
I am sure you have had distasteful experiences walking down streets like the one pictured above. These wide 4-6 lane roadways that are impossible to cross except at an intersection, and are often extremely windy since there are no barriers, just a block of pavement between sidewalks. You may remember how much room the vehicles had and how little room was left for the sidewalks forcing you to step off into the muddy grass when ever a pedestrian approached you from the opposite direction. These streetscapes are not pleasant and offer little other than racetracks for the two tonne manchines that travel the length.
Image Credit: http://parkandpray.com
If you are lucky you may have a slightly altered streetscape than the above, you may have curbside parking flanked with close proximity buildings. If you are a business owner that happens to flank one of these streets, and you realize the ineffectiveness of the streetscape there are options for you. Even if you do not own an adjacent business and are simply a concerned citizen you can rent out one of those parking stalls for a couple of hours, or a whole day depending on the going rate for parking. (Make sure you check with your local bylaws to ensure that you will not get in trouble.) You can turn a piece of your Siberian roadway into a slice of paradise.
|Image Credit: http://scooterparking.wordpress.com|
It can be as simple as barricading the parking stall to create a temporary bike parking lot to make up most likely for the lack of bicycle lock-ups. This way people have a safe place to park their bikes and shop at the local stores. Bikes do not end up cluttering the already cluttered and claustrophobic sidewalks.
|Image Credit: http://lifewithoutbuildings.net|
You could go slightly more complicated and utilize the parking stall to create a 15 ft by 5 ft green park. You could install potted plants and seating, creating a peaceful escape from the sea of asphalt. You give people a place to sit down, where seating is probably lacking on a cluttered sidewalk. You give people an opportunity to stop and relax in your neighbourhood.
|Image Credit: http://wirednewyork.com|
If you are the owner of a restaurant, cafe, or bar you could set up or extend your patio. If you were to do this once a week, once a month or even once a year it would give potential patrons another reason to visit your street. Suddenly your street becomes an attraction, and people may realize what a mistake it is to be dedicating 45% of our public space to automobile infrastructure.
|Image Credit: http://wn.com|
You could take this a step further and organize a festival for your street, in which you collaborate with other business owners to convert your street into an entertainment destination once a year such as the Lilac festival in Calgary or the Al Fresco in Edmonton. Both festivals utilize the surrounding businesses and have vendors for various gifts, foods, along with a beer gardens and live outdoor music. You could also set up a weekly farmers market such as the one on 4th st in Edmonton, in which the street is taken back from the cars and the local economy is supported.