17 Feb Sneckdowns Louisville

The recent snowstorm in Louisville offers the chance to evaluate our streets and identify potential locations where underutilized pavement can be reallocated to the pedestrian environment, provide traffic calming opportunities, or at the very least simply better understand traffic patterns on our roadways.

Like desire lines, where people have worn a pathway in grass and other surfaces that indicate where a lack of sidewalks and other pedestrian amenities exists, sneckdowns (areas where residual snow piles along streets or snow-neckdowns) reveal unused pavement where vehicles don’t travel after a snowfall. It must me stated that not every place that snow piles along the roadway are simply unused space. There are a multitude of reasons why these areas develop including snow plowing patterns and other underlying reasons that are not necessarily related to actual traffic patterns during non-snowfall events.

However, documenting where these sneckdowns occur can help to reveal at least a few locations around the city that could be the site of traffic calming initiatives, or simply reclaiming underutilized paved areas for other purposes.

While the white powder remains on our frozen streets, and you are out and about with your camera, become a citizen scientist and shoot photos of these potential areas, upload them to social media such as instagram or twitter with the hashtag #sneckdown502, ideally with location services “on” so we can begin to catalog these areas and get a better understand of where opportunties might exist throughout our city. After the snow has all melted we will pick our favorite example and send the photographer a ReSurfaced t-shirt by City Collaborative.

Sneckdowns are not a new idea, but their observances have been gaining momentum. Here is an article on StreetFilms that goes into more detail about them and the terms origin. Stay Warm!