The recent snowfall on the east coast provided a great opportunity for a new Streetfilms epic.
You might be wondering, What the heck is a sneckdown? A neckdown is a narrowing of a roadway to make it safer for pedestrians by slowing down cars and narrowing the road; a snowy neckdown is what happens when nature does the narrowing with snow, and when cars are left with what they actually need rather than what the engineers gave them.
It started as a hashtag #sneckdown, coined by Aaron Naparstek (see the history here), founder and former editor in chief of Streetsblog, and has become a global urban design phenomenon, even where they don't have snow. (there are leafy sneckdowns too). Sneckdowns are wonderful because they show how much space could be taken back from cars and given to people, and how ridiculously over-designed and over-engineered our roads are now. Now Clarence Eckerson Jr. of Streetfilms has released what he calls The Last Sneckdown Streetfilm:
This video is particularly interesting because there was lots of warning about this storm, so he went out in advance and filmed intersections before it snowed and then went back, camera and measuring tape in hand, to see what happened after. And we see that indeed, cars are going more slowly, turning more carefully, and appear to need a lot less space. Please, Clarence, don't make this The Last Sneckdown Streetfilm- we can't have enough of them.