Listening to another of my favorite podcasts "SmartCity" I heard Carol Coletta interview Bob New (starts at about 28:20 in the mp3) from "city repair" in Portland OR I understood a great way to get people involved in their neighborhood and a way to introduce more traffic calming without using speed tables.
"Intersection Repair" is the citizen-led conversion of an urban street intersection into public square.
Streets are usually the only public space we have in our neighborhoods. But most all of them have been designed with a single purpose in mind: moving cars around.
With an Intersection Repair, that public space is reclaimed for the whole community. The intersection of pathways becomes a place for people to come together. The space becomes a Place - a public square.
Nicely painted intersections on neighborhood streets would be great. I live in the "flower streets" so I could see hibiscuses on my corner...
This is a link to a pdf that explains how their program works including a "model city ordinance"
They have a 10-step program on how to get it done and the City of Portland has an ordinance to govern the process.
From the website:
The City Repair Project is group of citizen activists creating public gathering places and helping others to creatively transform the places where they live.
With a mostly volunteer staff and the help of hundreds of volunteer citizen activists, our many projects:
- educate people about why most American neighborhoods are socially isolating and culturally inactive, and how we can transform them from the grassroots,
- inspire people to both understand themselves as part of a larger community and fulfill their own creative potential, and
- activate people to be part of the communities around them, as well as part of the decision-making that shapes the future of their communities.