For this entry, I chose to have a very narrow and specific focus. I chose to take a look at two streets in two different towns (as the title suggests). I looked at streets that I thought should be more walkable and community oriented, as they are in close proximity to a busy road, while still having many stores and restaurants on the street. I looked at these streets based on some of the criteria that John Levy put out for judging urban design: “unity and coherence, minimum conflict between pedestrians and vehicles, land use, and creation of sense of security and pleasantness” (184).
Starting with the bad, these are two pictures of just some uninspiring parts of streets. These two streets run parallel to the central street in East Orange, where most of the traffic is. These streets should have a more walkable aspect to them, as there are numerous restaurants, mom-and-pop stores, and churches located here. Yet these two streets are hurt with “blithed” and run-down buildings, narrow sidewalks, empty lots, lack of adequate lighting and litter. I chose these two pictures because, when compared to the Montclair ones below, they show how really one or two buildings can destroy the character of a street. The buildings are dilapidated, and in major need of rehabilitation. There is a feeble attempt to make them mixed-use, to absolutely no avail. Fixing just a few of the buildings on the street can really transform them into a much better, more community oriented-street.
Moving onto the good, these are two pictures that show what quality design can do. These two streets are also located right off of the busiest street in Montclair, and thus show how to make side streets more walkable and community friendly. The picture of Church street is of a one-way street, which greatly restricts the vehicular traffic. The sidewalks are very wide (though you can’t see that in the picture because of the parked cars) and the buildings are all of mixed-use. The picture of Park Street shows a picture of a large mixed-use apartment building, where stores are on the bottom and above is five floors of apartments. Park Street also has very wide sidewalks, lots of shady trees, fresh looking buildings, benches and ample lighting. This is urban design done right, where the East Orange picture shows a need for improvement. Overall, these four pictures show just how important urban planning and design is, as proper planning and oversight can transform streets and better serve the community as a whole.