German Street in Shepherdstown, WV: where, instead of a curb at the sidewalk, there’s a fence.  And shrubs.

The prosperous little municipality of Shepherdstown, fortuitously situated along the Potomac River in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, boasts a charming three-block main street, German Street, with nothing but locally owned establishments, achieving almost perfect occupancy amidst its variegated, well-maintained 19th century buildings.  It’s an enviable arrangement, no doubt enhanced by its location in

In the urban jungle, a crosswalk for guineafowl.

As I manage issues regarding data migration from my old computer to new—apparently a process that, so far, has involved over four hours with tech support and no success—I must resign myself to another mini-post to keep things going when time is scarce.  On a bright May morning, I was trolling around downtown Trenton, New

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

Rise over run: Portland parks contend with steep slopes.

Both nestled in and perched on the Willamette Valley, Oregon’s largest city of Portland (by far) has its share of dramatic slopes and sublime vistas. This should come as no surprise. And although nearly three-quarters of the municipal limits sit to the east of the Willamette River, downtown Portland and most of its highest points

Age-restricted bicycling: double-wheeled rules for the single-digit phase in life.

As bicycling becomes an increasingly acceptable—and even fully integrated—mode of transportation, sharing our car-dominated streets, we should expect some enforcement of standards that better facilitate this integration. We’re not there yet—not even close. Plenty of heavily urbanized spaces have yet to acknowledge bicycling as a viable alternative to cars through the provision of infrastructure, even

Colorful commemorations: what do painted bikes mean to the unschooled?

Nearly four months had passed—a long time for me—since my last visit to Pentagon City in Arlington County, Virginia, home to a big, well-situated, and (as malls go) prosperous mall, a booming multifamily housing sector, numerous key big-box retailers, and a variety of office complexes—all within walking distance of the none-too-pedestrian-friendly Pentagon. The area is

Steering with stanchions: keeping the corners safe in the Christmas City.

For those of us who care about this sort of thing (the precious few), it’s become increasingly obvious that bollards have become a significant element of the average streetscape. We owe some of this, no doubt, to the unfortunate reality of an escalating collective fear of terrorist attacks in the form of vehicle ramming, either

In the urban jungle, a crosswalk for guineafowl.

As I manage issues regarding data migration from my old computer to new—apparently a process that, so far, has involved over four hours with tech support and no success—I must resign myself to