Court Street Fountain Plaza

Location: 
Montgomery, AL
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Downtown Montgomery will soon have a new plaza much like those in Europe. The Alabama city was about to rebuild an intersection around the 1885-vintage Court Street fountain when Ken Groves, head of the city planning department, asked Rick Hall and DeWayne Carver of Hall Planning and Engineering in Tallahassee to review the construction drawings. Hall and Carver saw the fountain area — which terminates a view down Dexter Avenue from the Capitol — as a place that would be congenial both for vehicles and for people on foot if designed and built properly.

They persuaded the city there was no need for extensive pavement markings to guide motorists and pedestrians within pre-assigned  lanes. Hall was inspired by the work in Holland of Hans Monderman, a traffic engineer who introduced the concept of drivers and pedestrians sharing street space (see March 2005 New Urban News or Dec. 2004 Wired magazine).

“The lack of extensive markings would, in fact, help manage the vehicle speeds to the pedestrian-friendly 20- to 25-mph range,” says Dan Banks, a town planner at Dover, Kohl & Partners, which is preparing a downtown redevelopment plan. Hall is calling for the intersection to be a rough-textured cobblestone plaza with flush pavement at the edges, with traffic circulating around the historic fountain, and with bollards at key locations. 1

  • 1. "A plaza shared by vehicles and pedestrians." New Urban News. 10/1/2006. Pg. 8.
  • Court Street fountain plaza before

    Court Street fountain plaza before

    The Court Street fountain plaza was in dire need of improvement. Image courtesy of Urban Advantage and Dover, Kohl & Partners.

  • Court Street fountain plaza after

    Court Street fountain plaza after

    The Court Street fountain plaza will now allow both cars and pedestrians to safely use the space. Image courtesy of Urban Advantage and Dover, Kohl & Partners.

Urbanism type: 
Old Urbanism

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