Quebec City Lane Diet

Grand Allee, one of the main streets leading into Vieux Quebec, is an excellent example of a former arterial that has been reduced from four lanes to two.  The street was put on a lane diet for a long one-block stretch to incentivize a lively restaurant row.  The solution keeps the existing grading and storm drain locations, but adds special pavement and bollards to clearly demarcate this newly augmented pedestrian zone. In some cases, restaurants take advantage of the new real estate by extending outdoor seating all the way out to the former curb edge.  Unbelievably, valet parking seems to happen in the remaining travel lanes, as one of the photographs shows. 



Stair Gate



We didn’t go into Moshe Safdie’s Museum of Civilization in Quebec City (notice no plural!), but we did climb up the exterior stairs to the roof where we were treated to third tier views in a city that seems to be organized to maximize the number of knock-out vistas.  While making the climb, we discovered an unprecedented detail for a security gate that swings down into recesses in the pre-cast stair treads.



Christina and I paid a visit to Marshall Brown at the MacDowell Colony in Petersborough, NH last month.  Marshall was 2/3rds of the way through an eight-week fellowship where he was holed up in the cottage called “The Shop” cranking out large-scale sketch models for a air-rights parcel hovering over a Chicago interchange. The site was originally the centerpiece of Daniel Burnham’s 1909 plan for Chicago and the proposed location for a monumental (think Albert Speer) civic center.

Marshall’s design methodology – based on military “scenario-planning” – was super-interesting.  We were equally captivated by the line-up of wood “tombstones” listing all of the past residents of Marshall’s studio-cottage.


Dumpster Diving


Public swimming pools have long been a mainstay of American cities, providing – on a steamy August afternoon like this one – much needed heat relief. Fortunately, Boston residents can count roughly 35 swimming public pools in their midst managed by the DCR and the BCYF (and many more private ones). Some, like Veterans Memorial Swimming Pool on Magazine Beach in Cambridge, are clean, well-maintained, and best of all: 100% free. Others, like Mirabella Pool in the North End and Clougherty Pool in Charlestown, have a nominal usage fee ($5-15 for the season), but still offer a great value.


Unfortunately, there are few pools proximate to downtown, where pool-seekers might go for a quick dunk. An article in the NY Times featuring temporary pools by Brooklyn-based Macro-sea made out of dumpsters struck me as an ingenious proposition for Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway. Without mature trees and still lacking program in places, these temporary “pools” seem like a light-handed strategy for enlivening the Greenway. Alongside other seasonal operatives like the Dewey Square Farmer’s market, and the (hopefully) permanent Clover Truck, planning for the Greenway shouldn’t have to always be so weighty and dry.


– Corey