With a Big Denver Snowfall Comes Big Inspiration to Calm Traffic
Tuesday was Groundhog Day, and Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow, so spring will come early this year. So it’s good that Denver got a big snowstorm while the winter lasts, because snow helps illustrate the potential to redesign streets.
As drivers trace paths through the snow, a lot of asphalt remains untouched, revealing excess pavement all over the place, especially at intersections. The result is temporary, snow-made traffic-calming — also known as “sneckdowns.”
If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s a portmanteau of “snowy neckdown.” (A neckdown is a traffic-calming technique that widens sidewalks at street corners so drivers take turns more carefully and pedestrians have shorter distances to cross.) Sneckdowns are like visual evidence that street space is waiting to be repurposed for pedestrians.
Here are just a few examples from Denver after the latest storm.
Other cities have used paint and plastic bollards to create space for people to stand while waiting to cross the street, or even gather and talk. Permanent fixes don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. They just need the go-ahead from city planners, engineers, and elected officials.
Thanks to readers who shared their photos. Got a picture or video of a Denver sneckdown? Share it on Twitter or Facebook and we may share it on the blog. You can email me as well.