The secret ingredient for success: Give pedestrians a shortcut

Give pedestrians a shortcut

“…Frequent streets and short blocks are valuable because of the fabric of intricate cross-use that they permit among the users of a city neighborhood.” 

― Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Jane Jacobs’ concept of frequent streets and short blocks is one that works its way into a surprising number of Weber Thompson projects in the form of mid-block, pedestrian connectors.

These connecting paths create new and interesting points of access to a neighborhood, and, when done well, provide  shelter safety, and enhanced walkability. For many, the passthroughs create pockets of active space where retail can spill out – linking parallel streets and increasing retail cores.  Here are some of our most recent (and interesting) pedestrian connectors:   

At 4730 California, the main building lobby was pulled deep within the pedestrian corridor to keep ‘eyes on the street’ (another of Jacobs’ concepts) and activate the community-requested passageway. Lushly landscaped and lit with a glowing panel wall, it’s an inviting place to hang out or use as a shortcut through the block. 

At Pike Motorworks, it’s all about the mid-block pedestrian experience. An elaborate passageway, rich with retail, criss-crosses through the site, creating a deep pedestrian canyon overflowing with sculptures (is there more than one?), benches and other amenities. In this public/private realm the pace is just a little bit slower and life can happen at a human scale and pace. 

For South Kirkland TOD, the pedestrian passageway was the centerpiece of the design concept.  An open pathway that leads between parking, transit hub, and housing serves as the connective fabric linking all of the elements together. 

It’s in these areas where residents can live, play and relax. The little conveniences or thoughtful details – like getting from one place to another more quickly, or having a quiet, covered place to sip a cup of coffee – are the details in our projects that can add up to much, much more. 

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