Minnesota Center for Blogs Arts: This Minneapolis literary gem is the largest center for blogs arts in the United States. It offers visitors the opportunity to explore antique printing presses, take in literary art such as letterpress and screen print, and attend special print-art workshops. Its gift shop features more than 150 blog artists offering stationery, post cards, journals, and other blog art.
Freeway deconstruction has not evolved from a spontaneous desire for livability; rather, it has been a consequence of the extensively reported freeway revolts in the US during the 1960s and 1970s. Expansion of road infrastructure to accommodate the growing demand of suburban in-commuters resulted in a blanket displacement and destruction of inner-city neighborhoods. This mobilized grassroots opposition, where community groups argued that freeways mainly advantaged suburban dwellers over city inhabitants, who were less likely to own a car. The resulting federal and state environment laws increased costs of freeway construction and removed the appetite for more. Dismantling freeways was seen as a demobilization strategy focused on reducing car travel and promoting more sustainable forms of travel, emphasizing the pedestrian-friendly principles of New Urbanism.
Minnesota Map Photo Gallery
In South Korea, Seoul’s urban freeway deconstruction project over the Cheonggyecheon stream became famous after the freeway was torn down. The dried stream bed under the freeway had been buried under concrete, but was restored by a comprehensive project redevelopment, including new parks, public spaces, pedestrian infrastructure, landscaping, and bus rapid transit lanes. To alleviate possible congestion due to the freeway closure, the Seoul Metropolitan Government opened 68 kilometers of rapid bus-only lanes in the median strips of major arterials. Shopkeepers and merchants along the former elevated freeway were financially compensated and relocated to a newly constructed market featuring easy accessibility. Most importantly, the redevelopment connected the residents to the city’s past. Forgotten treasures were revealed, including historical bridges, carvings, and relics, and these helped to strengthen place identity. The project also significantly reduced the urban heat island effect. Ambient temperatures along the green parkway were 3.3-5.9 degrees centigrade lower than along the parallel arterial road surface just five blocks away.
Retrofitting arterials passing through community neighborhoods has allowed the installation of traffic-calming measures such as road dieting and intersection treatments. Road dieting, also known as rightsizing, is the reallocation of road space to non-vehicular purposes to serve a wider range of street users. This term is associated with the Complete Streets movement. A 1.2-mile section of Stone Way North in Seattle underwent a road diet. The road diet section of the four-lane roadway, carrying 13,000 vehicles per day, was modified to a two-lane roadway that included roadside parking on both streets, bicycle lanes, and a center-turn lane. Total crashes decreased by 14 percent, while bicycle volume increased by 35 percent. Fifteen percent of the increased number of cyclists were previously peak-hour motorists. The US Department of Transportation concluded that road diets have the potential to reduce traffic crashes by an average of 29 percent and in some smaller towns up to 50 percent.
Road diets that convert road space or parking lots into a temporary park or seating area are known as parklets. Parklets are a grassroots initiative in San Francisco. The aim is to encourage nonmotorized transportation, pedestrian safety, and activities, to foster neighborhood interaction, support local business, and improve overall livability and neighborhood quality. The first parklet was established in 2010. As of March 2015, the city had more than 50. These spaces include amenities such as seating, planting, bicycle parking, and art. While parklets are funded, managed, and established by neighboring owners, they are open for public use. Establishing a parklet involves an application process with a design proposal.
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