Frankfurter Strasse/High Street
Submitted by: Anna Tennent
Careful design has restored the high street function of this road, originally a dual carriageway (and ancient Roman road).
The central part of the street, situated around the shopping and commercial areas, is typically busy and thriving (the photos were taken on a bank holiday). The street has been broken down into two relatively narrow carraigeways made to appear narrower still by the careful use of granite paving to create edge strips and a central 'flexibility' strip. The pavements have been widened to create a comfortable pedestrian area and cycle path. Cyclists can use either depending on how fast they wish to go. A thriving atmosphere is reinforced by access to residential apartment buildings. High-quality fittings and a variety of different character zones contibute to a well-cared-for feeling in this intensively used town centre.
What Makes Frankfurter Strasse/High Street a Great Place?
See above comments. Access was extremely good. Care had been given to the location of transport stops and parallel parking (short stay) along the shop fronts.
The number of people using the area meant that there was no need for a formal security presence. There were additional areas adjacent which had seating and a more formal plaza behind the main road was well used and easily accessed.
A complete range of people were sited. The principle activities were generally coming and going, i.e. promenading. However, as stated earlier, this street was only seen at a time when shops were shut in a commercial area. Principle activity likely changes at different times of the day and during retail hours shopping would be the main focus.
The street was very sociable with many people walking and talking and making eye contact.
History & Background
I visited the street as part of a six-day study trip with the urban design department at Oxford Brookes University. It stands out as a great example of how a street can be changed to meet the needs of its users - both residents and shoppers. There is no doubt that many streets like this exist, but this one stood out because of its dramatic transformation from the grim environment it had been in its main highway days to what it is today.
BSV (Buro fur Stadt- und Verkehrsplanubg), Achen; Graham Smith at Oxford Brookes University;