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Redesigning Main Street in post-industrial communities: The case of Galesburg, Illinois

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Title: Redesigning Main Street in post-industrial communities: The case of Galesburg, Illinois
Author(s): Lv, Yuan
Advisor(s): Sullivan, William C.
Department / Program: Landscape Architecture
Discipline: Landscape Architecture
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.L.A.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): Photo-questionnaire Main Street Road diet Urban street Citizen participation.
Abstract: After World War II, cities in the Mid-western United States widened their streets to demonstrate that their towns were progressive, economically strong and vital places. But now, cities are finding that wider streets are not all that desirable after all. By today’s standards, these wide streets are no longer attractive and welcoming -- they also present dangerous relationships between automobile traffic and pedestrians who dare to walk on the sidewalks. Moreover, they lack bicycle lanes that might promote an alternative to driving to downtown. Changing the design of Main Street by reducing traffic lanes, adding bicycle lanes or plantings could improve the visual quality, livability, and safety of urban streets. But to what extent would citizens approve of such changes? Would they welcome change or prefer to keep Main Street as it is? This thesis used a photo-questionnaire to examine the extent to which local individuals approve of various design alternatives to Main Street in the city of Galesburg, Illinois. Citizens rated their approval for reducing traffic lanes, adding bike lanes, burying overhead power lines, adding natural plantings, building bridges or underpasses, and adding decorative street lighting. The results demonstrate that citizens strongly support reducing traffic lanes – from four or five lanes to three lanes -- and adding bicycle lanes. Participants also indicate considerable approval of burying overhead power lines and planting trees and flowers along Main Street. These findings not only add more evidence to previous studies about the desirability of putting Galesburg on a “road diet” and planting a large number of street trees, but also provide evidence to landscape architects and city planners that citizens support the creation of safe, attractive urban streets. These design alternatives not only improve the visual quality of urban streets, they also create a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly streetscape that, over time, will enhance people’s physical health by encouraging them to walk and cycle.
Issue Date: 2010-08-20
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/16931
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 Yuan Lv
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-08-20
Date Deposited: 2010-08
 

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