The first time I heard the term ‘Snowy Neckdown’ was some four years ago from my girlfriend at the time who’d just graduated with a masters in urban planning from Portland State University. Years later, the term has come to be abbreviated as ‘Sneckdown’ – and with a recent boost from Streetfilms, social media savants, and shifting weather patterns, the term is helping people discover just how much urban space automobiles actually waste in a city.
Essentially, after snow begins melting, the places where cars don’t actually drive is revealed by the un-melted snow. What could be space used by people is revealed to be needlessly purposed for traffic. These spaces could easily be transformed into public plazas or at the least, pedestrian islands. On the heels of the sneckdown media blitz today, I thought I’d bike out to two intersections set to receive temporary makeovers later this year by the group Better Block PDX.