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Pop Up Rockwell

Pop up Rockwell was a weeklong makeover of a downtown Cleveland street in 2012 with the goal of raising awareness for more transportation choice and healthier social interactions. Thousands of people, from families with small children to workers commuting in from the suburbs, experienced the transformation of a pass-thru street into a lively social space with new freedom of movement.

Cleveland's first complete street<br />Pop Up Rockwell allowed urban designers to test ideas and share feedback on how to design streets to improve access for all users.Greening the street<br />Recycled (and reusable) artificial turf buffered the street from the bike lane.Soaking it in<br />Students in the Kent State University design and architecture program designed for Rockwell the BiFi bench: Part bioretention, part WiFi hotspot.Pure joy<br />What beats riding fast and free on a city street redesigned for multi-modal transportation?Making it count<br />Robert Mavec (center), Commissioner of the Division of Streets for the City of Cleveland, participates in a complete streets training during Pop up Rockwell.High flying ideas<br />Pop Up Rockwell employed clever public art to solicit feedback. Photo: CUDC.
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The Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative with partners including GreenCityBlueLake with support from its Fairmount Minerals Design Innovation Fund, led a creative design process and targeted improvements.

Painting in crosswalks and bike lanes where none existed, designing new green infrastructure such as the BiFi (bioretention/WiFi) benches, installing public art, and providing free bike rentals was a more interesting and effective way to spark a conversation about Complete Streets in Cleveland.

The intent is for these interventions to open minds—from City Hall to living rooms to corporate boardrooms. It says, here's what a little ingenuity, elbow grease and public, private, and civic involvement in a common-cause frame of mind can produce. Vibrant Cleveland streets.

Pop up blocks, such as Rockwell Avenue, illustrate what the best urban design ideas are meant to foster: A can-do attitude, something that can be in short supply in some corners of Cleveland.

This is the kind of creative spark Cleveland needs to see. It signals that streets are places of innovation; challenging what we assume is sacrosanct. The public right of way is not that hard to re-imagine as people friendly. With a few thousand dollars, a hard working crew given the permission (or not) can reshape the road even in the heart of Cleveland so that bikes, pedestrians and creative ideation belong.

"Two forces drive the Rockwell Pop Up: A desire to model the city's new Complete and Green Streets law and to enliven the links between downtown attractions, new and old."

--Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 20, 2012

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