When the Center City District project was pitched, the idea was to institute a “woonerf” on Albert Ave. between About Road and MAC Ave. A woonerf is a European street style that has no markings and slopes from storefronts – basically there are no sidewalks, no lines, no lanes. In Europe, these are usually old-fashioned cobbled roads and everyone goes slowly on them. They’re not very welcoming to cars unless drivers are willing to go very slowly, and the visual cues tell drivers to go very slowly.
The innovative woonerf design for Albert Ave. was considered a big “pro” in the pro/con list on the project for some people on Planning Commission.
What actually ended up happening on Albert is a conventional street but with the sloped sidewalk on the south side in front of the new construction.
I’ve been wondering how this would work once open, particularly because there was nothing in the design to manage rideshares and deliveries. On Thursday, I found myself downtown twice. Here’s a photo from the morning and another from the afternoon.
These photos (below) answer the question. Delivery drivers are parking in what is a clearly marked bike lane and, where there’s no curb, they are parking on the area meant for pedestrians (they are parking on the pavers). You can see in the second photo that this is pushing a moped driver out to the center lane marker.
Recall that in this location, in front of Lot 1, there used to be a lane for cabs, at least, and delivery drivers used that, too.