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Porphyry and Complete Streets

Porphyry stone paving is an important ingredient in creating streets as public spaces that are memorable and used by many. It fulfills this complete street goal: Visual Excellence: Improving the overall aesthetic with an emphasis on high quality, lasting design and materials.

Much has been written recently about the concept of complete streets.  A complete street recognizes that the purpose is not to help an automobile to get from point A to point B, but to provide for pedestrians, cyclists, rapid transit, automobiles and to do so safely and with appeal.  These multipurpose streets are supposed to enhance everything from walkability to the economy.  Much of the writings take the form of manuals and guides about what to review, what to consider and how to make room for all the elements required.  There are design typologies for a wide variety of street types.  Boulevards, market streets, pedestrian only streets, commercial streets, residential streets. All have been covered in these documents.  There are many organizations devoted to information on complete streets and there are many cities and towns that have incorporated these concepts into their regulatory and development process.  

Additionally, but usually separately, there are many thoughts about how streets become places. These argue that streets are part of the public realm and special streets have design enhancements that allow for enjoying the beauty and multitude of activities that take place.  What makes a street great is beyond what makes it complete, just as the definition of a great place is beyond the fact that it is a public space.

               A Complete Place, with Stone Pavers – Toronto Waterfront Development 

While the greatness of a place or street is usually beyond the topics of these guides, they are beneficial to be sure, as they are the product of traffic engineering, urban planning, utility placement experts, construction methodology, bicycle and pedestrian design and storm water management best practices.

 

One such guide is very comprehensive and planners, municipalities and designers are encouraged to use all or part of it with the only requirement being to attribute the work in any customized use.

The Model Design Manual for Living Streets, Los Angeles, County, 384 pages, is available for download.

Download the Guide

“A team including many of the top street designers in theU.S.produced this manual. The team comprised experts from traffic engineering, transportation planning, land use planning, architecture, landscape architecture, public health, sociology, and other backgrounds. The team also included experts serving in leadership roles for the following national and local organizations:

• AARP Public Policy Institute• American Society of Landscape Architects• Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals• California Department of Health Services• California Strategic Growth Council• City of Long Beach• Council for Watershed Health• City of Los Angeles Plan• Council for Watershed Health • Congress for the New Urbanism • Federal Highway Administration • Green Los Angeles Coalition • Institute of Transportation Engineers • Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects • Los Angeles County Department of Public Health • National Complete Streets Coalition • Project for Public Spaces • Safe Routes to School National Partnership • Smart Growth America • UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation • US Access Board • Walkable and Livable Communities Institute

The multidisciplinary nature of this team created concepts for streets that reflect viewpoints from various perspectives and lenses.”

The beauty part is up to the will of the citizens, their leadership and the creativity of their designers.

From the manual –

“Cities will design their streets with a strong sense of place. They will use architecture, landscaping, streetscaping, public art, signage, etc. to reflect the community, neighborhood, history, and natural setting.”

 

Porphyry’s composition determines its high compression strength, resistance to stains, slip resistance, and high freeze/thaw ratings.  The stone is the most popular paver in Europe, and is favored for its flexibility in design, beauty, durability and low maintenance requirements. ADA Compliant Porphyry pavers are also adaptable to a permeable paving set. The stone is by far one of the most durable pavers in the world.  These beautiful materials are available from Milestone Imports.   Milestone supports the creativity of architects, planners and designers. Porphyry offers surfaces of various finishes and mixed colorings, tending towards tones of grey, gold, violet and red, depending on where it is extracted.  –  www.milestoneimports.com