So we’re finally getting back into the whole streetscape discussion. One might think that a traffic light is just a traffic light. But in other cities I’ve actually seen a variety of designs that can really improve or detract from a street’s appearance. The Office of James Burnett (that’s the title these folks have chosen for their firm) provided Oklahoma City’s streetscape committee with a choice of designs. The one above has boxes around the signal lights that have a bit of a curve to them. The poles are straight, however, just as they are today, but with a cross-bar or tail at each end.
The committee rejected both of the above candidates, apparently not liking the boxes. They also rejected any design where the signal lights were presented horozontal instead vertical.
The curved pole did appeal to a couple of the committee members, most notably Assistant City Manager Cathy O’Connor and Assistant Engineer Laura Story. But others, like urban planner Aubrey Hammontree, commented the curved lights might conflict too much with signal lights that will remain intact on the perimeter of downtown. O’Connor responded the idea was to create a new look downtown that would make it different from anywhere else.
The apparent winner is the vertical candidate up above – the only difference from current fixtures being the cross-bars or tails at each end. The box around the lights remains a box – just as they are now.
I say “apparent” because the decisions became much more complicated after this one, and the committee may revisit this choice as they look at combinations designs.
Let the discussion begin. My next post will consist of examples of traffic light designs you’ve submitted and ones I’ve seen elsewhere.