Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Claremont Street along the Southwest Corridor

Posted by Timothy Rusteika

Claremont St. is a one way street located parallel to Columbus Ave. and runs along the side of the Southwest Corridor, which is a mixed use path for pedestrians and cyclists. This area is meant to have a residential feel to it and is not meant to be used as a cut through street, but rather to be used primarily for the pedestrians and cyclists. The purpose of this street is to be a turn around street for residents parked in the area or for drivers who may have taken a wrong turn.

The functionality of this street is very evident in the way that it was designed. The first aspect of how the street was designed in a way to calm the traffic is the layout of the road. The road does not run straight, there are jags in the road that shift the vehicles position in a short distance. These jags are called chicanes. The chicanes slow the drivers down significantly limiting the driver from going more than 5 or 10mph. In this picture you can see the shift the car has to do to continue along Claremont St.

Another aspect of the design of this street which acts to slow traffic down are the high curbs. Typical vertical granite curbing is about 6 inches high, whle the curbing along Claremont St. is closer to 10 inches.

There are many different pros to having high curbs. First of all, it restricts the driver giving them more of a feeling that the road is narrower than it actually may be. Secondly, the high curbs create a much more comfortable separation between the pedestrians and cyclists and the vehicles. Pedestrians are less likely to walk in the road if they have to step down too far. Lastly, since there are a lot of residential homes in the area, there is a need for parking. With such high curbs and narrow lane widths it makes it nearly impossible to park on the side of Claremont St which will eliminate any delay that might occur from vehicles blocking the road.

Another part of the design which serves to discourage drivers from parking on the side of Claremont Street, are bollards places at the edge of the residents driveways and cobblestone strip where the is a shared driveway for a few houses along Greenwich Park and Claremont Park. These different measures as to give the road more of a constrained feeling for the driver, along with the high curbing which was already discussed. Both of these design aspects can be seen in the photographs below.

Claremont St. is not meant to be a stret that people use to cut through, as was seen through all of the different aspects of the design of the street. As far as I can tell, the design is doing what its intention was. Of all the times I have walked along Claremont St. I have never once seen a car parked on the side of the road, and rarely do I even see cars driving on it. This is a perfect example of a street where pedestrians and bicyclists are the primary user while cars are secondary.

1 comment:

  1. The genius of these high curbs is allowing the street to be narrower that is usually permitted. Minimum street width normally wants to allow a fire engine to pass a parked car. If the street is made narrower, drivers often cheat by parking with two wheels on the sidewalk, which may leave enough space for cars to pass, but not enough for a fire engine. The high curbs makes it impossible to park with wheels on the curb, guaranteeing that the full street width will be available for a fire engine. That allows less of this precious park space to be wasted on pavement.

    Nice observation about the bollards. They were probably put in because parked cars were using the curb cut ramp to get a pair of wheels onto the sidewalk.