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96 articles

Directional decals: amplifying restrictions on everyday activities amidst pandemic panic.

Usually I like my articles to be “outside of time”—that is, I avoid subjects that are completely beholden to some current event.  But by March of this year, that all changed.  How couldn’t it?! It was virtually impossible to avoid the coronavirus, both artistically and epidemiologically.  (I still estimate there’s about a 50% chance that

Pandemic in the park: did restrictions around DC’s Tidal Basin help flatten the curve?

Given the patchwork of regulatory subcultures that our country’s federalist system inevitable creates, it should come as no surprise that this vast, diverse country is eliciting widely variable responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, both in terms of the key metrics—confirmed cases, deaths, recoveries—and in the fuzzier, day-to-day manifestation of this most acute of public health

Lake Dallas Main Street: a bedroom community doesn’t neglect its entrance hall.

I’ll concede at this point that small town revitalization has become sufficiently commonplace that finding a new example is hardly revelatory, even for those who aren’t really attuned to that sort of thing…because they never visit small towns, or because they just don’t care.  It’s even less of a surprise if the municipality in question

Right-turn spurs get the axe in Alexandria: is it safer at any speed?

The vehicularly inclined among us have probably noticed how, in recent years, various cities have adopted new stripes, bollards, stanchions, and sometimes modified curbs that make it highly inconvenient to make right turns.  Yes, this is deliberate. No, it’s not happening to give motorists a hard time, though it definitely doesn’t make things easier, which

A construction staging area and a sidewalk: never a healthy pairing, but sometimes the treatment is worse than the disease.

For most of the 21st century, and certainly in the last ten years (since the Great Depression) the majority of American downtowns have enjoyed a reinvestment no longer measured merely in spruced-up old façades. The cranes, dozers and other construction equipment are all the evidence one needs. People are returning to central business districts, in

Fabulous Las Vegas farewells us: fabulous and fundamentally car-friendly.

These days, few words get abused more than “iconic”, but few pop images—or, at the very least, few roadside signs—deserve the label as much as the sign welcoming people to Fabulous Las Vegas. Everyone knows what I’m talking about. Conceived in 1959 by commercial artist Betty Willis as her “gift to the city”—meaning she did

Pedestrian fencing in the median: jerry-rigged to stop jaywalking?

Sure, despite considerable improvements in the last two decades, the American urban environment is still much more pedestrian unfriendly than that in most other developed countries. But urban advocates all too often assert this with a certitude that, if we plumb beyond the generalizations, reveals that it isn’t always fair. Or even accurate. First of

Contraflow: when compared to people or cars, salmon still have it the toughest.

It’s hard not to wonder if there are unspoken rules that explain why well-moving vehicular traffic operates in much the same configuration as human crowds in a congested, spatially constrained setting. Which came first? Well, humans/pedestrians obviously. But vehicular motion remains subject to numerous regulations in the interest of safety for pedestrians and other vehicles.

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