Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Victor Dover at Rollins College: Raise the Bar on "Complete Streets"

Victor Dover lecturing on Street Design, the title of his new book, co-authored with architect John Massengale.
Veteran planner Victor Dover, whose redesign of Park Avenue in Winter Park in the late 1990’s made it one of Florida's greatest streets, lectured to about 150 students and visitors at Rollins College last night.  One reoccurring  theme was to "raise the bar on 'complete streets,'” the widely used term for streets designed for all users, whether motorists, pedestrians, or bicyclists. 

“A street is not complete unless it’s beautiful,” Dover insisted.

A case in point was the Okemos, Michigan roundabout, an over-engineered span of asphalt conveying a message of car space and not people space.  (Michael Wallwork, the engineer who originally designed the Okemos roundabout, told me that the City retained a subsequent engineer, who “blew-up” his design by adding unnecessary lanes and increasing the design speed.)  The Okemos--like the Horizon West roundabouts--was not properly engineered to target entry, circulating, and exit speeds to below 20 miles per hour--essential for pedestrian and bicyclist safety. 

“If we’re going to design a circle, make it a people place,” Dover suggested, showing a slide of the Seven Dials in London, England. 

Dover noted that he is ending New Urbanists' unofficial moratorium on showing images from Europe.  

Dover was promoting his new book, Street Design, co-authored with John Massengale.  He said they inserted voluminous, color photographs so that “an elected official can ask, why can’t we have a street like that?”