2nd Street SE sucks (and that’s okay)

2nd Street SE sucks (and that’s okay)

  Should every street be a great? Can every street be a great street? Nope. Cities need spots that are about function. In Cedar Rapids 2nd St SE beween 5th Ave and 8th Ave is nothing but function. This stretch of downtown is all parking lots, loading zones, and blank walls. It’s also necessary. This space functions as a repository for the stuff that you need to help 1st Street and 3rd Street be great streets. Just on 1st Street you have condos, offices, restaurants, with more on the way. 1st Street is meant to be experienced on foot! One of the things that makes 1st Street great is that there’s a massive parking garage on 2nd Street that can service all of these places. Cars aren’t going to disappear, but we have a choice in how thoroughly we capitulate our urban environment to their needs. The great pedestrian space on 1st Street, and that are possible on 3rd Street, benefit from having space nearby that can be used for cars without interrupting otherwise great streets. 2nd Street doesn’t forego good pedestrian infrastructure. It’s actually one of the best examples in the city of what kind of facilities should be built for pedestrians. It has wide sidewalks, comprehensive crosswalks, lighting, and even street trees. It uses this infrastructure to make it easy for people to get to the parts of downtown that are vibrant experienced on foot. That’s why it works. Without the comprehensive pedestrian infrastructure 2nd Street would be a blackhole instead of a useful repository. You’re still supposed to walk here, from the car to the office, or theater or restaurant….