A Safe Street? With A View?

My father recently gotten into an accident and I have been visiting him at Sunnybrook Hospital. In order to get there I walk on Bayview Avenue. The street intersects with a lush forested ravine, Sunnydene Park. On my one side, its vibrant foliage and a crisp stream; on my other side (just half a meter away!) is a busy and loud two-way traffic road.

You can understand my frustration when, first of all, I did not feel safe to pause and enjoy the natural environment but even if I had stopped, where would I have gone?

Streets like this should take advantage of such scenic vantage points. It’d only take ONE change to create PUBLIC SPACE – a viewing platform (and if you’re feeling fancy, add seating)!

high_line_new_york_t210611_ib14

Photo courtesy of Iwan Bann

Take Highline in New York for an example. The project optimizes on providing public space that deviates away from traffic by being pedestrian focused. While the smaller road that I am describing can’t exactly replicate the Highline, it definitely could use the same factors: framed views, implemented seating, and distanced from traffic.

glacier-skywalk

Photo courtesy of Gavin Young

Here’s a more drastic example that illustrates the more extreme side of a viewing platform – The Glacier Skywalkin Alberta’s Columbia Icefields in Jasper. If we treated small ravines the same way we treated mountains, we would all be able to experience nature in an urban environment more often.

What do you think? I would love to hear of your experiences regarding street typology in your city- Leave a comment below!

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