Trailnet sets up a mini roundabout for a traffic calming demonstration (Source: Trailnet's How-to Guide for Pop Up Traffic Calming)

Trailnet sets up a mini roundabout for a traffic calming demonstration (Source: Trailnet's How-to Guide for Pop Up Traffic Calming)

At the Strong Towns Summit in Tulsa, I was lucky to lead a group of enthusiastic Strong Town supporters through a quick traffic calming demonstration. The purpose was to inspire people to use tactical urbanism in their own communities to promote traffic calming by showing how changing the street can change behavior.

Though there was not much traffic, we did slow the street temporarily with only 26 cones. I hope my partners-in-calming left with a better understanding of how to do demonstrations; I know I got ideas and suggestions to improve my traffic calming work.

After the demonstration, I promised to share a list of my favorite resources for planning and executing pop-ups with everyone who helped, and with the Strong Towns audience in general. The following resources are all available for free online.

  • Slow Your Street- a How-To Guide for Pop Up Traffic Calming by Trailnet is a comprehensive guide to figuring how and why to do a traffic calming demonstration. The guide covers every aspect of the process, from identifying your goals and engaging your community to setting up a demonstration. The section on data even has a sample survey you can use for gathering feedback to analyze the success of your event. (Full disclosure: I helped with this guide and I work for Trailnet).

  • Intrigue & Uncertainty: Toward New Traffic-Taming Tools by David Engwicht is the e-booklet that first opened my eyes to the potential of temporary traffic calming and the impact of neighborhood activity on driving speeds.

  • The Tactical Urbanist’s Guide to Materials and Design by Street Plans Collaborative is an essential and practical guide to what materials you can use when you are redesigning a street.

  • WikiBlock offers downloadable patterns for building street furniture and traffic calming tools with plywood. I just learned about this at the Strong Towns Summit and I am excited to test out the designs.

  • Tactical Urbanism 2 by Street Plans Collaborative is an inspiring look at ways to improve your community through temporary projects of all sizes.

  • The National Association of City Transportation Officials has design guides covering traffic calming and bicycle facilities. The design guides are written for permanent infrastructure, but they can still offer insights into temporary projects as well as ensure that your temporary project has the possibility of one day becoming permanent.

  • The United States Access Board has guidelines and standards for making streets accessible. When planning your temporary demonstrations, look for ways to make sure that everyone in the community can enjoy it.

Finally, your biggest resource is your community: it takes a team to make a pop-up successful and push for lasting change from a temporary demonstration.

Please share your favorite resources for pop-ups and tactical urbanism in the comments and let me know what I am missing.

(Top photo from Strong Towns Summit traffic calming demonstration. Source: Evan Lowenstein)


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marielle Brown, AICP, is passionate about helping communities create lovable places that work for people of all ages and abilities. She worked at Trailnet, a non-profit in St. Louis, on bicycle and pedestrian planning, transportation policy, and tactical urbanism for five years. She recently moved to Seattle, where she continues to advocate for better streets and fiscally responsible transportation. In addition to her planning work, she has first-hand experience with multi-modal transportation planning around the world through her experiences living in Beijing, Hiroshima, Paris, and Seoul. Marielle received her Master's in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University.