What Snow Tells Us About Creating Better Public Spaces


If you haven’t heard of a “sneckdown” yet, that’s pretty normal, don’t feel ashamed. Ashamed should be the local authorities that still let this kind of thing exist. Anyway, according to This Old City, a Philadelphia blog where we came across this thing, it’s a clever combination of “snow” and “neckdown” – another name for a curb expansion – that uses snow formations on the street to reveal the space cars don’t use. Advocates can then use these sneckdown photos to make the case to local transportation officials that traffic calming interventions like curb bumpouts and traffic islands can be installed without any loss to car drivers.

As put by Jon Geeting, who’s captured all this:

“One of the areas of Philadelphia with the best opportunities for pedestrian plazas is E. Passyunk Avenue, which crosses the street grid at a diagonal, creating lots of triangular intersections. I thought the snow would provide some good examples to help you visualize what I’m talking about, so I headed over there this afternoon to take some sneckdown photos. And to my delight, the snow revealed some awesome traffic calming ideas I hadn’t considered.”

Check out more sneckdowns below.

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