Winter Park uses overhead space

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.

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And at each corner, a ziggurat of light bulbs further decorates the space:

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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 !

fla jan 2013 066And here is the station building on the other side of the street:

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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.


One thought on “Winter Park uses overhead space

  1. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t Ottawa that removed the tracks, but rather the NCC. Because us plebes who pay the taxes aren’t smart enough to have the NCC vision of congested roads filled with cars spewing smoke to “enjoy” a waterfront that’s “protected” from any development that might threaten to make it attractive to visit & use…

    Is the NCC still claiming that some of their properties have no value? If so, the city should expropriate them and pay the NCC double their declared value, then develop them.

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