Earlier this week, Loeb Properties, which redeveloped Overton Square and is now working on the Highland Strip, put out this then-and-now Tweet.
Take a second and look at it. I think the general implication is the overall brightening and increase in activity, but there’s another difference there: "Before" includes four lanes for car traffic. The "after" sacrifices two of those lanes for bikes and parking.
Mayor Jim Strickland frequently cites Overton Square stakeholders praising the Square’s parking garage as essential to the district’s bloom. And I think that’s right. But just as essential was reorienting the traffic patterns on the street. And it’s not, primarily, because it brought more bikes to the Square. It’s because it slowed traffic and made the intersection safer and more inviting for pedestrians. Density and good design yields more foot traffic. Can you imagine bustling Overton Square now if there were still four lanes of car traffic zipping through it? Would it even be so bustling then?