Pedestrian Friendly Elements in Berkeley

The summer is over which means that Walk Eagle Rock is migrating north to Berkeley for an other semester of university. While there’s no place like home, there are occasions on which I feel Eagle Rock can learn from Berkeley, particularly about street design and especially now with Take Back The Boulevard afoot.

Downtown Berkeley’s main street is Shattuck Avenue and  it may not resemble Colorado Boulevard much but there are elements from the street that seem they could be happily embraced along Colorado Boulevard. Let’s take a look…

 

  • Seating implemented around street trees. Similar structures can be found in Highland Park around a handful of ficus trees that line North Figueroa Street. Having public seating available is vital if a street is to be friendly for people on foot, and these small wooden benches seem they could be attractive and easily implemented along Colorado. If someone is shopping or couples are walking, such seating can be a nice place to rest and take in the street life before carrying on.

  • Hanging flower baskets from street lights. This treatment is a rather common one on main streets throughout the U.S. but it is also quite effective: it literally makes the street more colorful, gives people something to look at, and makes the street more aesthetically pleasing. In the case of Eagle Rock, if these were implemented along Colorado Boulevard perhaps adjacent store owners could agree to regularly water the plants. Like installing benches around street trees, this measure capitalizes on an existing element of the street ( the lighting) and enhances it to make the street more pleasant, attractive, and ultimately more of a destination.

  • Identifier. Berkeley, like many other cities, has installed a street clock on its main street; such clocks help identify and define the commercial core of a neighborhood. Now, some might say that street clocks are overdone or cliché– and to some extent Eagle Rock already has a neighborhood clock above the awning at The Coffee Table. A street clock may not be appropriate or desired along Colorado because of this but perhaps Eagle Rock can have a unique identifier or piece of public art along Colorado Boulevard. Identifiers can be iconic, public attractions– the kind of thing that helps make Colorado a street where people might parks their car, dine somewhere, then enjoy a nice stroll along the boulevard to see the other various shops, street life and relax.

These are just simple three ways in which Eagle Rock could perhaps improve the experience of shopping, walking, and dining along Colorado Boulevard and help change the identity of the street from speedway to commercial district.

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