I'm still in London on vacation right now, and it's too late at night for me to write a long post right now. And it's also probably a bad idea for me to address again the Burnside Couplet debate before thinking and analyzing and researching the debate properly. But one though occurred to me that I've long meant to address on the blog, and it's very much related to the Burnside couplet debate:
Does Portland simply have too many one way streets?
I ask this not from the perspective of what's technically the most efficient or prudent or proper for either pedestrians or even cars. I'm talking about something more elusive and indefinable - at least by me.
I remember several years ago at the beginning of the NBA season and one ESPN writer, David Aldridge, picked the Trail Blazers to win the championship. The way he said in print was, 'Get ready for a parade down one of Portland's crazy maze of one way streets.' The guy didn't even live here, and probably spent most of his time going between the airport, the Rose Garden, and maybe a restaurant or two (surely El Gaucho if his NBA brethren visiting town are any indication). But still, one of the most fundamental things he observed about the city was that we have an inordinate amount of one-way streets.
I think one of the most principal reasons I'm opposed to the Burnside couplet is the emotional feeling - not so much a practical or cognitive one - that I'm sick of all the one way streets. And especially in the case of Burnside, which is arguably the central spine of the city, the only one that touches Southwest, Southeast and Northeast, I like the idea that it's one grand boulevard that, in addition to moving cars and people and being crossed regularly, also unites the city. And uniting isn't about segregating. A couplet to me is naturally a kind of segregation. Sure, it's more efficient in most cases. But I don't like the idea that it's always the best solution in a broader sense.
Does anyone else share my one-way-street fatigue? Or a sense that the most efficient, practical solution for an urban design problem or issue isn't always the best one?