"The asphalt street suddenly gives way to an urban oasis," writes Linda Baker in Seed magazine. "A pair of massive, granite planters with palm trees flank the entrance to the street, which opens onto a one-block space paved with concrete squares. There are no white lane dividers or sidewalks. Instead, rough-hewn granite columns distinguish places for pedestrians and places for cars."
This is 21st-century traffic engineering (in Portland, if the palm trees didn't give it away -- SEE CORRECTION IN COMMENTS), based on psychology more than engineering. It's supposed to alert drivers to unpredictability, causing them to slow down. Baker quotes Aussie innovator David Engwicht, author of Mental Speed Bumps, who wants drivers to (Baker's words) "lose interest in speed and identify themselves as part of the larger social landscape." Read the whole thing.
Would you like to see something like this in your block? Or is it the kind of thing that sounds good . . . somewhere else?