Friday, June 27, 2014

A Look at Boone (Part 2: King Street)

King Street is Boone's primary commercial strip, and is one of the top "main streets" in North Carolina. For a half-mile the street is lined with numerous shops and restaurants. Even though it attracts a good amount of foot traffic, the sidewalk is wide enough that there is never a feeling of being jammed between the buildings and the parking lane. At times the sidewalk is arcaded, which is a plus on wet days.

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However (there's always a "however," isn't there?)... King Street's bipolar personality of walkable main street and major thoroughfare is detrimental. For example, the vehicular right-of-way is wide to the point that crossing is rather uncomfortable. Though the speed limit is low enough that you don't have to play human Frogger while trying to cross (like too many streets), King Street gets enough traffic to act as a barrier to businesses on the other side. The number of parking areas on the southern side (the right side in the picture) also kills the streetwall effect and most people prefer to walk on the other side.
Overall, King Street is solid by North Carolina standards but possesses way too many characteristics of modernistic, post-car urban design.

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