Liestal Row shared space

Edible Pedal in Liestal Row
Edible Pedal in Liestal Row

Shared space is a type of roadway that is common in Europe, found in a few places in the United States, and so far as I know, only one place in Sacramento. The concept is that pedestrians, bicyclist, and motor vehicles can mix without having to have set-aside areas defined by curbs and painted bike lanes.

In Sacramento, Liestal Row, an alley between L Street and Capitol Avenue, and 17th Street and 18th Street, is the example. The alley was reconstructed with sidewalk areas defined by smooth concrete and roadway areas defined by bricks, however, there are no curbs in between and no limitations that keep the modes separate. The two businesses in the alley, Edible Pedal and Old Soul, spill out into the alley, and people often stand around in conversation. Often vehicles (including bicycles) have to thread their way between other users. What makes the alley work is that motor vehicle drivers are moving at a very slow speed, and do not have priority over other users. I’ve seen the uncertainty in the eyes of drivers negotiating the space, and that is exactly what makes it safe for everyone, the uncertainty that leads to paying attention instead of making assumptions or driving distracted.

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Choosing streets to walk

business on a two-way, two-lane street (Capitol at 18th)
business on a two-way, two-lane street (Capitol at 18th)

I walk a lot in midtown, going to and from various destinations such as the train station, nonprofits and agencies I work with, grocery stores, theatres, farmers markets, breweries, etc. I was thinking last night as I walked to and from Capital Stage about what streets I choose to walk on.

Almost all the time I choose to walk on two-way, two-lane streets. I rarely choose to walk on the multi-lane streets and the one-way streets, except for short distances as I zigzag to my destination. The two-way, two-lane streets are usually quieter, less traffic and traffic moving more slowly. I can relax more with the quiet, and I can look around more, paying more attention to everything around me and not just traffic.

Why is this significant?

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