Great Places: What Every Urban Enthusiast Should Know

Melissa Hege, AICP of South Florida-based Melissa Hege City Planning LLC. shares her thoughts on what every urban enthusiast should know about good streets and great places.


Nassau, Bahamas

Forget the fact that they drive like maniacs on the wrong side of the road, they have the utmost respect for pedestrians. Here, yellow stripes on the road alert drivers that a crosswalk is approaching.

Nassau, Bahamas

These broken, pointy lines indicate the zone where a pedestrian can cross. They straddle either side of the formal crosswalk and create a really generous area for crossing.

Great Barrington, MA

A brightly painted crosswalk with a clever message is another version of added safety for pedestrians crossing a busy intersection.

Santa Monica, CA

Don’t underestimate the power of paint. You can’t miss this crosswalk. The paint is bold and bold and borderline psychedelic.

Santa Monica, CA

A bit more upscale, this crosswalk uses pavers to alert drivers to pedestrians crossing.


Beverly Hills, CA

Midblock crossings are especially important on longer blocks and busy streets. This one is neat and elegant with landscaped medians and a ramp which seems to sink between the sidewalk edges.

Bourdeaux, France

The nifty little islands create a safe haven for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross the street.

Paris, France

Here’s a simple solution to crossing the street in the the middle of the block. Two large pillars on either sided of a simply painted crosswalk are like beacons for pedestrians crossing the street. These are low impact and quite effective.

Miami Design District

Remember this? The bollards aren’t as pretty as those in France, but the pavers are quite a lovely way to create a crosswalk.

Aix en Provence, France

Bollards can really announce a crosswalk well and make people feel slightly more protected when a car whizzes by them.


Asheville, NC

This is my favorite photo. Room for cafe seating, a structure for a permanent outdoor vendor stall with space for two little girls to run up and down the sidewalk.

So many wonderful examples to steal from! I think Miami could borrow a few of these and all would be the wiser.

Article originally posted by Melissa Hege, AICP at

Melissa Hege, AICP, LEED AP, practices planning and urban design in one of the Country’s most envied and envious iconic cities—the Republic of Miami. For more than a decade, she has enjoyed the juxtaposition of the region’s beauty and dysfunction, and continues to learn from it daily. Educated at the University of Pennsylvania and Brandeis University, her portfolio includes award winning plans which translate design based solutions into practical applications.

In her current practice, Melissa Hege City Planning, she straddles the roles of planner and community advocate by exploring infrastructure investments which add exponential value to cities. These include waterfront parks, bicycle and pedestrian trails, and complete streets—streets which have comfortable and protected zones for bicycles, pedestrians, cars, and transit. She is currently developing a waterfront pop-up installation on Miami’s Biscayne Bay to demonstrate the potential value of a permanently improved and connected waterfront trail in downtown Miami. Other recent projects include an interactive web based tool to visually track all multi-agency infrastructure improvements in downtown Miami and a Complete Streets forum for local municipalities in partnership with Miami Dade County.

Melissa is a board member of the Miami Modern (MIMO) Biscayne Boulevard Association, a 501c3 dedicated to preserving its architectural history and expanding commercial opportunities for this US-1 corridor. She is Past Chair of the Miami Section of the Florida American Planning Association, was Co-chair for the State’s annual conference and served on Miami-Dade County’s Transportation Aesthetic Review Committee. She has been published in the Miami Herald, Florida Planning, Planetizen and Panorama (University of Pennsylvania) and taught as an adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University. She developed a planning curriculum for middle school students at the Cushman School and is a regular speaker at the Florida American Planning Association’s annual conference.</i>