There’s nothing quite like a long, uninterrupted drive on a clear, open road. The only problem? Such roads are becoming increasingly rare. Between sprawling suburbs and resurgent downtowns, our streets are getting more crowded and bare. Streetscaping is the answer! Adding trees, planters, and other greenery can make even the busiest thoroughfare feel inviting. Here’s how to get started.
What is Streetscaping?
The busiest streets are often the least inviting. That’s where streetscaping comes in! Streetscaping is the process of making roads more attractive and functional. It can involve anything from paving and repainting to installing public art.
Architects and urban planners have embraced the concept of streetscaping in recent years. The concept recognizes that a street is a public space where people may engage in various activities. Streetscapes and their visual experience impact public spaces where individuals interact, defining the community’s aesthetic quality, economic vitality, health, and sustainability.
Common Features of Stareetscaping:
1. Pavement –
The most obviously essential part of any street; they play a crucial role in determining a street’s character, function, and safety.
2. Sidewalks –
They provide a space for pedestrians to walk on and should be wide enough to accommodate two people walking side-by-side.
3. Curb extension or “bulb-outs” –
The sidewalk extensions into the street at corners or crossing locations; shorten crossing distances for pedestrians and make it easier to see oncoming traffic.
4. Crosswalks –
The painted markings at intersections indicate where people should cross the street; they are usually accompanied by signage and sometimes by special lighting.
Why Care About Streetscaping?
Like most individuals, you probably don’t pay too much attention to the aesthetics of your local roads. But maybe you should! Streetscaping can have several benefits, including:
1. Improving Local Property Values:
Broken windows. Crumbling sidewalks. Graffiti. These are only a few things that may portray an area as being run-down and uninviting. But when a streetscape is well-designed and well-maintained, it can increase property values.
2. Attracting Businesses and Visitors:
Have you ever noticed that businesses tend to cluster in certain areas? That’s because they want to be where the foot traffic is. If you’re looking to attract businesses and visitors to your town or city, streetscaping can help.
3. Making a Place More Pedestrian-Friendly:
From the younger ones skating to school to the elderly out for a leisurely stroll, pedestrians of all ages benefit from streetscaping. Wider sidewalks, well-placed benches, and more trees and greenery make it easier and more pleasant for people to get around on foot.
Who is Responsible for Streetscaping?
In most cases, it is the municipality’s responsibility to take care of streetscaping. However, sometimes business improvement districts (BIDs) or other groups will spearhead streetscaping initiatives.
What’s the Process to Get Started?
1. Start with a Plan:
The first step is to develop a streetscape plan. It should be a comprehensive document that outlines the proposed changes and how to implement and maintain them.
2. Get the Community Involved:
The next step is to get the community involved. It is achievable through public meetings, surveys, and other outreach methods.
3. Implement the Plan:
Once the plan has taken shape, and the community is on board, it’s time to implement the changes. It’s a time-consuming and costly process, but it will be well worth it.
Streetscaping is an ingenious way to add character to your community. It isn’t just for aesthetics – it can also make cities more sustainable.
Laurel Asphalt, serving Bedford, PA, with over 25 years of experience, is the perfect partner to help your municipality take on a streetscaping project. We have the knowledge and expertise to get the job done right, and we’re committed to providing quality customer service.