I really love the concept and idea of bringing “living alleys” to the downtown area. I’ve already got a few alleys in mind for this type of cooperative civic project, which through a small capital investment can bring huge returns through positive use opportunities and potential kiosk business licensing.
What is a “Living Alley”?
A Living Alley may be defined as a narrow, low-volume traffic street that is designed to focus on livability, instead of parking and traffic. Typically, this means creating a street primarily for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as space for social uses. Vehicles are typically still allowed access but with reduced speeds.
The San Francisco Planning Department City Design Group is initiating a two-year community-based program to design and implement a network of “Living Alleys” in the Market Octavia Plan Area.
The Market Octavia Plan identified alley improvements as a means of creating shared multipurpose public spaces – traffic calmed environments that contrast the heavy traffic on the surrounding arterial streets. The plan also called for the development of prototypes and a process where residents can participate in the design and implementation of improvements to their alley.
The Market and Octavia Living Alley Project will take advantage of underutilized alleys to provide pedestrians with a respite from heavy urban and regional traffic to create a secondary pedestrian network in the Market and Octavia neighborhood.
Here’s another great article that discusses this idea in greater detail. While Santa Cruz doesn’t have the urban core density issues of cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco, we do have some pretty cool, underutilized alleys in the downtown area.