Sunday, May 09, 2010

Professor says, Encinitas needs more benches

At this week's general plan speaker series the topic was smart growth. The SDSU professor's thesis seemed to be that cities should have cool places to hang out and people should hang out at these place. Little things like including benches designed so that you could sit in them comfortably for long periods was one of his recommendations.

From this week's Parade:
More Cities Encourage 'Loitering'
After years of passing laws against loitering, cities from New York to Atlanta to San Francisco are creating new mini-parks and plazas where passersby are encouraged to sit and stay awhile.

According to data from the New York nonprofit Transportation Alternatives, outdoor seating areas boost foot traffic by 20%, leading to 10% more retail sales. Local property values also increase by 7%. In San Francisco, four new pedestrian plazas and five “parklets”—tiny parks made of two or three consecutive parking spaces—will be open this summer, with more to come. Neighborhood businesses and corporate donors are funding the projects; the city will pay for maintenance. The trend is spreading to smaller cities and towns, too. Morristown, N.J., is considering turning a parking lot behind a municipal building into a park, and Tigard, Ore., is adding sidewalks with benches to downtown streets.

Experts warn that the plazas must carefully balance the needs of pedestrians, drivers, and merchants. “They make cities friendlier, but they can choke traffic,” notes Ann Forsyth, a professor at Cornell University. “In most cities, businesses still need parking and visibility to drivers,” says Patrick Phillips of the nonprofit Urban Land Institute. “If you overreact against the car, you can cause problems for retailers.”


  1. I miss the Roadside Park bench.

  2. Tarnished StateMay 10, 2010 7:13 AM

    Just read that California ranks 51st as the worst state in the country to do business because of taxes and regulation (they included Washington, D.C.)

  3. I miss the Roadside Park bench.

    So do the bums.

    It's nor so easy in a beach community where the homeless gravitate to because of the climate all year.

  4. I hope our city grows up to be the next santa monica. There are tons of bums there.

  5. How can it be Santa Monica when it looks, feels, sounds, and smells like Vista?

  6. 8:09
    Me too. I miss not only the Roadside Park's benches, but it's tables, bar-b-que pit, drinking fountain, lamp posts and enormous trees. I'll never miss the canoe rides.

    In what publication did you read that statistic? And how could that be possible, with only 50 states in the union? CA being the "51st worst" would then make it better than the best state to do business in the country for taxes and regulations.

    #1. Homers outnumber homeless in this town 1000 to 1.
    #2. Almost everyone desires to live in our beach community.
    #3. "Bums" still congregate at the park, and any other public place they like. Little things like that make us a free country.
    Put back the social ammenities at the park. If someone is breaking the law there, (drinking, peeing, disturbing the peace, etc,) call our sheriffs - like anywhere else. But don't destroy pubic places like this one because some think the park belongs to only them. Or is there some ulterior motive behind the scenes to commercially develop the park? They're making progress clear cutting it if that's the case. By the way, what happened to the wooden benches we were promised that were to be made from the wood of the park's razed giants? Another lie, forgotten.

    If we build it, they will come.


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