Urban Field Studio is a collaborative team of urban designers, architects, and educators. We love cities and the different shapes they take. We are passionate about the quality of space and how it can encourage human interaction.
We enjoy working with other professionals, experts, residents, representatives, and stakeholders to generate the best ideas for the places we want to live in today and in the future.
We know it is worth the effort to think about the big picture, the unique context, the aspect of time, and the complexity of issues to initiate positive and meaningful change.
We can help start a discussion, guide a planning process, create and illustrate ideas. Because as urbanists, we care about people and their environment.
|The new parking garage viewed from 3rd Street|
|The inviting new public space in front of the garage|
The garage features two iconic pieces of public art created by Napa-based artist Gordon Huether: an oversized tarantula made out of steel and motorcycle headlights crawling up the building facade and colorful glass panels enclosing the main stairwell with abstracted poppy jasper patterns. Both are references to local features of Morgan Hill and call out the building as a new landmark. Arachnophobia is not a problem in Morgan Hill, T-shirts and stickers with the tarantula silhouette were a common sight that night.
|Poppy Jasper and the tarantula public art pieces by Gordon Huether|
The public art theme is reflected in the signage and color scheme of the garage. Urban Field Studio worked with graphic designer Matthew Meyers of mmmdesign and Design/Build contractors F&H Construction to tie all the placemaking elements of the garage together.
The parking garage provides 270 free parking spaces serving the downtown of Morgan Hill, a fast-growing regional destination with a growing reputation for fine restaurants and shops. 3rd Street has been redesigned as a shared street by Santa Cruz based Landscape Architect Joni L. Janecki & Associates. It incorporates sustainable landscape features, wide sidewalks, seating, parking pockets, and a small plaza in front if the parking garage that integrates an existing gorgeous tree. 3rd Street can be closed off for events and provides, together with the streetscape improvements on Monterey Road, a new pedestrian-friendly center of activity for Morgan Hill.
|The shared street design on 3rd Street|
With the Morgan Hill Station just a block away, the downtown can also easily be reached by train. The parking garage is yet another important piece of revitalizing the downtown and all that it has to offer.
|Note the knocked over plastic bollard in the first image and the|
available parking areas to the right in the first and last image.
The City of San Francisco has made great progress with adding designated bike lanes and improving the network. These bike lanes are typically marked with painted white lines, or with green paint marking the entire lane (better), or separated by temporary low-profile curbs or plastic pivoted posts (best). This is certainly the cheapest solution to create designated bike lanes, which allows for the implementation of the most miles of bike lanes for the limited amount of funding that is available. However, the issue with unprotected bike lanes is that they are very convenient for delivery trucks, taxis and their equivalents, or any car to park on, much more convenient than even pulling into an available parking strip right next to it. Just switch on the emergency lights, which per California Vehicle Code are only to be used in an emergency, and voilà, short-term parking will never be an issue again (for some people, grabbing a quick coffee might even qualify as an emergency). This situation forces cyclists to move into the traffic lane, where drivers may not expect them because of the presence of the bike lane. Other risks include opening car doors of parked cars to the right and right-turning vehicles that cross the bike lane.
|Image by Minneapolis Bicyle Coalition/ Paul Krueger|
|Image by shareable.net|
Salt Lake City is the first city in the U.S. to implement this design, a proven concept used in the Netherlands, the land of the bicycle superhighways and elevated bike roundabouts.
Read more about the reasons why Salt Lake City chose this approach in this article.
Protected bike lanes are obviously more expensive than striping the asphalt. However, they will permanently improve the streetscape, make bike lanes an equally important part of the street, invite more people to bike, and significantly reduce the number of collisions between cars and bikes - a goal of San Francisco's Vision Zero. It's worth the investment.