Urban design concepts are aimed toward a certain ability to flow for all parties. People must be able to get to their destination in a timely manner, while vehicular traffic needs need to be met so queues and traffic jams don’t form. Places of calmness and relaxation outside the home are also goals. I live in the heart of New Brunswick; where a global university, train station, and two renowned hospitals collide. I can only image few towns match the hustle and bustle of the streets of New Brunswick.
In the picture below, one can see one of the busiest streets during rush hour: Easton Avenue. Streets and traffic lights are designed to hold rush hour volumes, but it does not always function the way planners and engineers want. This picture shows significant queues in both directions, with major pedestrian crossings up and down. Although a pain to drive, this could be seen as a benefit or incentive to walk to any of the local food and shop vendors.
In this picture, you can see the conflicts between drivers and pedestrians. One car rushes to get through yellow/red light, while pedestrians are already crossing and all while a lane closure backs traffic up the other 3 directions. A lack of security exists due to high conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles. It looks as the traffic signal phasing is outdated, and planners have neglected this intersection.
Construction of a new building is shown in the background of Easton Avenue. Although building and construction is beneficial, it can become a hazard when too there are street or sidewalk closures. Pedestrians can be forced to walk in the street, causing a serious danger to them. When construction is underway everywhere, there are a lot of heavy trucks and vehicles, as well as loud noises. These elements can bring a sense of high alertness and nervousness.
This area of New Brunswick brings a high level of historical urban design. The one square block of the Old Queen’s building is right in the center of New Brunswick as well, just a block down from the previous photo. Being considered one of the best examples of Federal Architecture, this national landmark serves as a cornerstone of Rutgers University. The property has a feel of security and satisfaction, as well as places to rest, rendezvous and take in a pleasant sight.
Two-story multi-purpose buildings are shown below. Although not necessarily developed by a planner, I particularly like the diversity of vendors of this location. All different kinds of cuisines allow for easy access and a wide selection to choose from. The second story provides a pleasant and neutral view, to calm the hustle and bustle on the street below. The permanent residency in the second floor brings about a neighborly feel to the very active strip.
This photo really encompasses what Easton Avenue can do. There are so many elements that bring this area together. The train station is right in front, with Easton Avenue sloping down underneath the tracks. On the left is an apartment building in the top 6 floors, a parking garage the next 3, and multiple use storefronts lining the street. On the right is an even larger apartment complex with 7 floors of parking, and storefront lining the street. This picture brings a high quantity of unity and coherence, a major attribute when it comes to urban design. Although built up significantly, this arterial of New Brunswick thrives economically and psychologically.