Photo copyright Jennifer Weisbord
A debt of gratitude to those who have influenced the work:
Jan Gehl, Reid Ewing, Ezra Hauer, Carmen Hass-Klau, Jane Jacobs, Kevin Lynch, David Graham Shane, William Holly Whyte
The story begins in a pew. Passing the time during the sermon, I drew multi-leg street intersections in the margins of the bulletin. I guess I was trying to sort out the best way to make the lines connect. To this day, I still sketch while people lecture (please don’t take it personally).
In architecture school, I was drawn not to buildings, but to the space between them. And the political/economical/social aspects of how they got there. Styles come and go, but most buildings always need some sort of a front door. Cities can be seen as intersections writ large - what is the best way to make the buildings connect?
The leap from urban design to traffic (calming) was pretty seamless. The land between the property lines are called streets, and (in the USA) streets are largely controlled by traffic engineers. So I learned all about traffic and became the first Director of Traffic Calming for the New York City Department of Transportation. Ours was a dedicated bunch and we challenged the dominant “cars are king” orthodoxy of the time. Along the way we installed speed humps, curb extensions, leading pedestrian intervals, and Safe Routes to Schools.
more to come…