Here in Ottawa, our traffic engineers threw fits when the local BIA and streetscaping committees suggested overhead decorations on traditional mainstreets like Preston and Somerset. The idea was to close in the overhead space, slowing traffic. “No way” said our engineers, “too dangerous”. It would distract motorists, making the road unsafe. They won the argument of course.
Winter Park takes another approach. At each intersection along its main street, overhead lighting closes in the space, encouraging moderate speeds. The lighting is festive, making it seem like you arrive somewhere special when you hit the main drag.
And at each corner, a ziggurat of light bulbs further decorates the space:
I suspect some people get their knickers in a knot over public lighting, “wasting”
electricity fossil fuels, light pollution, etc, but the sense of vitality and aliveness seemed to work with lots of pedestrians on the streets.
The main train line runs right through the centre of town (like most towns founded by Flagler, who owned the railway, and used it to bring vacationers to Florida to fill up his hotels and buy his houses). In this case, the main station actually bridges a major cross street. The platforms are being rebuilt — on a curve ! in the downtown ! blocking a street ! Without 6′ high chain link fences !
Numerous freight trains a day — very long ones — rumble through town. Winter Park did not spend the millions Ottawa did to remove its railway tracks or build suburban overpasses. Grade separations were mostly on the freeways, but not urban collectors or roads. It reminded me again how much catering to the automobilist has shaped Ottawa.