Easy street reclamation

Reclaimed street stub Originally uploaded by Payton Chung

The WPB plan calls for reclaiming street space along Wood and Hermitage, little stub-end streets on the 1300 block of N. Milwaukee that were cut off by the subway trench. They’re “the big empty streets to nowhere,” as the plan calls them, and their purpose could be served by just a single lane of traffic. (A similar opportunity exists at Milwaukee & Diversey.)

Here’s an example of how a similar street, off Washington Ave. in downtown St. Louis, was reclaimed through the simple addition of some planters. In theory, a car could still drive through here for emergency access, about where the people are standing. An even cheaper option — the ECObox temporary garden in Paris, built by ringing the site with discarded wooden pallets and backfilling with dirt — is profiled in the cool “Actions: What You Can Do With the City” exhibit up at the Graham Foundation right now.

Two other cool things I noted at the exhibit:
– The emotion map, which is kinda what happens when mood rings meet GPS and GIS. It locates “areas of communal arousal.”
– From Atelier Bow-Wow and firmly in the vein of chindogu, an idea for the “left bike battery charger”: that passerby could ride parked bicycles to feed electricity into their devices’ batteries. Maybe the “green gym” could offer such a service as an incentive for people to stop in and recharge daily.

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