Local animator’s Vine videos explain road redesigns in seconds

Local animator’s Vine videos explain road redesigns in seconds

Spencer Boomhower, the Portland-based video game animator and livable streets advocate who created the definitive videos about the case for letting people on bikes treat stop signs as yield signs and the insanities of the Columbia River Crossing freeway expansion, is at it again.

Boomhower’s foray into the business of urban planning visualization, Cupola Media, just teamed up with Massachusetts-based walkable-streets author and consultant Jeff Speck to create a series of simple looping Vine videos that illustrate one of the simplest principles of modern transportation planning: the fact that we can make a lot of big improvements to our streets using nothing but paint.

Above is their illustration of the “classic American road diet.” Here are the others they’ve made so far:

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Boomhower and Speck have also created some short Vimeo videos that do the same thing. Cupola’s Vine page also includes versions without the voiceover.

Some quibbles could be raised here. Most U.S. bikeway designers are not in favor of 2-way protected bike lanes on 2-way streets, like the ones shown in illustration #3, because of the intersection conflicts they create. (The video clip alludes to protected intersections, but those aren’t nearly as cheap or easy to install as a bike lane.) And 4 feet in each direction is really not much space for comfortable two-way bike traffic, even with a buffer.

In any case, what’s important about these videos is how they strip away the emotional minefield of a bikes-versus-cars narrative and focus on the essential fact here: it’s really easy to repaint streets in ways that make them safer for people driving, walking and biking. Let’s hope these guys keep finding ways to make that idea obvious to more of us.


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