|At the park's western corner, the boundaries between |
pedestrian, car, and rail zones are poorly defined.
The park's western corner is a good place to start. My informal but repeated observations indicate that this is the busiest corner of the park and the entry point for the majority of park users. Unfortunately, the rail line that infamously crosses the park slices through this corner, smearing the distinctions between the pedestrian, motor vehicle, and rail realms. The sidewalk and curb dissolve into asphalt which dissolves into the rail right-of-way which dissolves into active lanes of traffic; where is one to safely stand while waiting to cross the street? There are no barriers to guarantee refuge, and the physical and psychological assault comes from more directions than can be confidently monitored. The situation is only slightly better for those approaching the corner from the other side of the street, where the awkward boundaries combine with other poor physical cues to present a picture that on good days is ambiguous, and more often is repellent.
A simple curb bumpout at this corner would solve much of the problem by providing a larger, clearer pedestrian zone. Here are two existing bumpouts:
|Left: a basic curb bumpout in Hoboken, New Jersey (photo from hoboken411.com). Right: a landscaped example in Seattle, |
Washington (photo from myballard.com).
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You might notice that I've continued the one-way traffic on Seventh Street into the next block heading southwest (lower left in diagram). At present, this block is ridiculously, if pleasantly, complex: the street is narrow, there's a train running down one side of it, there's pull-in parking on the other side, and there's two-way traffic. There might be a reason for this last aspect that I cannot surmise, but my working assumption is that a one-way accommodation will be adequate because Sixth Street already flows in the opposite direction. Ultimately, this is a question on which to consult the traffic engineers.
Putting all this together, I've suggested below some possible changes to the curb boundaries of the park. The sidewalks are wider and the crosswalks to the park are shorter than at present. Parking has been maintained around the entire perimeter. The biggest license I took was in showing pull-in angle parking on Park Place; I'm not sure there is enough space.
If the irregular curb geometries look odd to your eye, it likely is due to the abstract nature of the drawing. In the real world, you've almost certainly encountered similar curb shapes many times without such concerns arising.
For now, I've represented the park with an expanse of green. This does not indicate a design intent but the absence of one. I'll continue my sporadic investigations into what might happen inside the park's boundaries another time.