Walkable West Palm Beach

300 block of Evernia restriping could signal watered-down implementation of Walkability Study

4 Comments

 

The 300 block of Evernia Street has been restriped with angled parking on the north side of the block. The Walkability Study called for angled parking on both sides of the street, but WPB Engineering informed me that the number of driveways precluded this from being achievable, in addition to concerns about meeting minimum lane width standards.

evernia

Jeff Speck proposal from Downtown Walkability Study

Although I’m ecstatic to see the progress, the statement about minimum lane width standards is very concerning. Most if not all the recommendations in the Speck Walkability Study are not possible without 10 foot lane widths or less. An 11 foot minimum standard is a highway/suburban standard. If anything, a walkable downtown core should be more concerned about a maximum lane width, above which the street becomes hostile to people on foot, rather than focusing on a minimum. A minimum lane width is a testament to street priorities: Making sure cars feel comfortable as possible driving through. I’m not sure where or when this policy came about, as it certainly wasn’t the case when Ian Lockwood and the New Urbanists were working in the city.

I understand there are reasonable street widths that need to be attained for purposes of public safety, ie, Fire Department (although Fire Departments are notorious for going overboard). However, we should be striving for streets that are as skinny as possible, more worried about creating more pavement than needed than we are worried that cars might have to slow down a bit. Restriping our lanes isn’t just about getting more parking yield, although that’s a great benefit. It’s about the many benefits in walkability and urbanism that come from having slower, more humane streets.

Slowing the cars is exactly what makes a place livable and desirable in the first place.

#SlowStreets #SlowTheCars

PS – I hope I’m wrong about this block and our street design standards. If a West Palm Beach engineer is reading this, perhaps they can respond on the blog to quell our fears that they will insist on 11′ minimum lane widths on downtown streets.

 

4 thoughts on “300 block of Evernia restriping could signal watered-down implementation of Walkability Study

  1. What are the lanes widths with the City’s restriping?

    If they want to keep parallel parking on one side of the road then I have a cheap fix that would help to visually narrow the street. What I would suggest is that they narrow the lanes to allow a striped buffer to be added for the driver side door of the parallel parked cars or to stripe a wide parallel parking space with a single white edge line. Even a simple white edge with narrow lanes would produce some reduction in speed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great point. Even if it is not a physical object to narrow the travel lane (a parked car, a tree), it is a cue that the street width is narrower. It’s a good incremental first step.
      At a later time, perhaps the city can afford some planters with trees to make this treatment permanent. For now, it’s a low cost tactical way to improve things.

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  2. I’m also curious what the lane widths measure after the treatment. These parking spaces aren’t 45 degree; they are more like 60 degrees and are more perpendicular to the curb. Perhaps they modified the original plan so the parking would eat up more of the pavement of the excessively width lanes?

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  3. Pingback: Zipcar comes to West Palm Beach | Walkable West Palm Beach

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