The Imagining Livability Design Collection

Solutions for Transforming Suburban Streets and Commercial Strips

These placemaking "photovisions" of six real locations show how lifeless roadways can become lively places

Cover of the Imagining Livability Design Collection

Click the image (above) for more livability tools, "before and after" transformations and to download the complete "Imagining Livability Design Collection."

The transformations presented here show real locations as they appeared during visits by AARP Livable Communities and the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute (WALC) between 2010 and 2015.

Subscribe: AARP Livable Communities Monthly eNewsletter

WALC helped each community develop a vision for the future, and it created photovisions to reflect those changes and how each place could be made better. The "transformations" presented here are among those discussed in The Imagining Livability Design Collection, a 40-page "visual portfolio of tools and transformations." The collection can be downloaded by clicking the image at right. Additional materials from the document will be added to this website soon.


Improving Community Access in WINTER GARDEN, FLORIDA

Located in a suburban area dominated by single-family housing, this Winter Garden roadway is an important connector for kids walking and biking to school as well as for workers getting to their commuter routes. Vehicle congestion has increased as the surrounding areas have developed and commercial and retail establishments have flourished. On one corner of the intersection is a municipal baseball park. The remaining three corners are slated for commercial development. Instead of widening the roadway and intersection to allow for more vehicles at faster speeds, the community envisions a safer intersection that creates better access for everyone and attracts high-quality commercial development.

A barren street in Winter Garden, Florida

The Present — Photo by the WALC Institute

The Challenges

  • The intersection, which is a critical access point for schoolchildren, is becoming more congested with vehicular traffic as the area develops.

  • The speed limit (40 mph on one of the approaches) is fast and dangerous.

  • Drivers take risks to get through the intersection before the light turns red.

  • Crashes have occurred, including one in which an elementary school student riding a bicycle was hit by a left-turning car.

Envisioning a More Livable Future

A proposed streetscape for Winter Garden, Florida

The Possibilities — Photovision by the WALC Institute and TDC Design Studio

  • A modern roundabout slows vehicles to a safer speed while still moving traffic efficiently. Since such a roundabout also simplifies the intersection, it eliminates the conflicts created by left turns and makes crossing easier for people who are walking or bicycling.

  • Adjacent landowners donate corner clips of their properties to allow for the roundabout, which will ultimately enhance property values.

  • The bicycle lane allows a cyclist to use the roundabout as a car would or to exit the protected lane, dismount and cross the roundabout as a pedestrian.

  • Having made a quality public investment into the area, quality private investment follows.

Connecting a Neighborhood and its Surroundings in FORT WORTH, TEXAS

This Fort Worth road is both a commuter route and a primary access point for a residential neighborhood, a commercial area, an emerging arts district and several schools. Violent crime is a notable problem in the area, and people, including children and senior citizens, are seen walking along and crossing the four-lane roadway, which measures about 44 feet from curb to curb and carries more than 20,000 vehicles a day.

The Present — Photo by the WALC Institute

The Challenges

  • A mixture of housing, churches, late-night establishments, schools, stores and more creates a demand for safe places where people can cross.

  • Proper crossing areas are about a half-mile from one other, leading to pedestrians crossing mid-block in unmarked locations.

  • The road is overly wide and fosters fast vehicle speeds.

  • Sidewalks are missing in some sections, are blocked by vehicles in others and in too many places are too near the edge of the road.

The Possibilities — Photovision by the WALC Institute and TDC Design Studio

Envisioning a More Livable Future

  • A road diet makes the street safer and more welcoming.

  • On-street parking, a bike lane and a colored center-turn lane are added.

  • A modern roundabout slows vehicles to a safer speed while still moving traffic efficiently. Since such a roundabout also simplifies the intersection, it eliminates the conflicts created by left turns and makes crossing easier for people who are walking or bicycling.

  • Curb extensions serve to (1) narrow the crossing distance for pedestrians, (2) create a tighter and slower turn for vehicles entering the main street, and (3) provide spaces for parklets, street furniture and bike racks.

  • Pedestrian-scale lighting supports walking and bicycling after dark.

  • Liner buildings convert previously unused parking lots into productive retail space that generates revenue and locates buildings where they help provide security and "eyes on the street."

  • Covered bus shelters protect transit riders from the sun and rain.
Livable Communities E-Newsletter promotion

Search Livable Communities

Enter a keyword (topic, name, state, etc.)

One in Three Americans is Now 50 or Older

 

Follow Us


Livability Index Widget

Livability Index

How livable is your community?


AARP Livable Blog

Contact Us

AARP Livable Communities

Do you have questions or suggestions? We want to hear from you. Email us at livable@aarp.org

For questions about the AARP Livability Index, please email livabilityindex@aarp.org.