Streets can be seen in many ways. As a machine for transporting with efficiency as its only goal. Or as a home of a community where people live, work and relax.
Designing streets that link with the local history and context yet perform their transport functions safely and efficiently is the challenge for public realm engineers and highway designers.
The struggles of Stillwater, USA show how with time, care and envolvement solutions can balance the needs of all users.
Resident perception was that the county wanted to cut through and straighten out the very hills and curves that give the area its character.
That is until Engineering Division Director John Risko, applying Context Sensitive Solutions training, came to the community seeking their input. Through a stakeholder committee and a series of public meetings, the new bridge design was considered alongside the history and context of Stillwater.
Initial highway proposals were to transform a road designed in 1700 into a modern highway with a 40ft wide structure designed for traffic speeds of 50mph inappropriate so close to a residential community.
The bridge design reduces traffic to safe speeds and while maintaining links with the heritage and environment of the area.
It is a unique gateway feature that announces the entrance Stillwater and its community and history.