Friday 20 January 2017

Follow up to What does Universal Design look like in your neighborhood? The Richmond Heights Dale Avenue Streetscaping Project

These are photos of Dale Avenue in Richmond Heights, MO. This streetscaping project is an example of universal design applied at a civic level and illustrates how UD benefits everybody by promoting active living.

This is a follow up to a post I did in October of 2013. Many people in the community at that time were not happy with the inconvenience put upon them by the construction of this project. The finished project has resulted in a positive and lasting impact for everyone.

Here is a link to the original post:

Below are the "after" pictures.  They speak for themselves but here are some benefits: 
  • Wider sidewalks accommodate a broader population of users.  A wheelchair user can stroll alongside their walking buddy instead of having to be in front or back of them.  
  • A mom with a baby jogger fit for triplets can use the sidewalk instead of the street.  
  • There are multiple benches and opportunities for people to sit along the way in case they get tired and have to take a break.
  • Increased lighting along the Avenue makes it safer for night time strolls for those that like to--or have no choice but to--get out after dark.
  • Transition areas and walkways are safer and easier to locate because of the curb cuts and changes in color and texture.  
  • Street parking is safer for the users because it is recessed and protected by bump outs. 
  • Accessible parking is designated and placed close to access points. 
  • Bike lanes are highly visible and promote active transportation without taking up space in road way.  
  • Increased property values for surrounding neighborhood because of walk and rollability of area.
Applying universal design does not just affect individuals, it affects many.  This list by no means sums up all the benefits, but one of the biggest to note t is safe access to active transportation which means less reliability on vehicles for short trips.  This alone will greatly improve the health and wellness of people who take advantage of streetscaping projects like this, minimizing money spent on healthcare, not to mention reducing the carbon footprint put out by reliance on automotive transportation.

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