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Flex Streets

In this week's Public Square, Robert Steuteville highlights Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach as a great example of what he refers to as a flex street. In this example, Clematis Street rebalances the streetspace for a variety of uses and modes of mobility through a design that allows it to adapt at different times to different situations.

In modern times, most American streets dedicate most of their function and space to moving or storing cars. Pedestrians, bikes, public seating, lingering, and experience are marginalized in favor of through-put and car capacity. In this dogmatic car-centric system, safety and sense of place suffer. Sometimes even economic development suffers. The street becomes only a thing between two points, rather than a place.

Clematis Street flips this by creating a streetspace that provides a shared flexible space that can accommodate not only cars but also seating, people space, and experience. The street becomes a place, not just a connector.

Could a street like this work in your community?

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