Santa Fe journalist Zane Fischer, in his weekly column for the Santa Fe Reporter, wrote this week about community efforts to re-vision St. Michael’s Drive—a six-lane, strip-mall infested eyesore that divides the north and south sides of the city. Santa Fe’s city planning department has apparently recognized the importance of transforming St. Michael’s from a 1970s-era car orientated wasteland into a vibrant and pedestrian friendly part of the urban fabric. They have invoked the famous “La Rambla” of Barcelona as an exemplar.
Fischer correctly points out that, “La Rambla isn’t only a successful community gathering space because it’s pedestrian friendly. It’s because it’s lined with cafés that don’t face arcane and prohibitive state alcohol regulations. It’s because kids are allowed to hang out well after dark in a culture that isn’t crippled by fear of litigation and the unknown. Businesses are open later than 6 pm, eateries are allowed to stretch tables and chairs out onto the sidewalk, and vendors and buskers and street performers are an accepted part of the fabric.” (more…)