Dan burden consultants


If a photo is worth 1,000 words, actual photo conversions may be worth 10,000. In this section, please use the center slide bar in each photo set to discover new possibilities for your town. The following before and after photos or photo simulations tell 16 stories you may wish to convey to your community. In our work, we find that seeing comparable possibilities helps inspire people to come together to work for better intersections, roads, gateways into town or new main streets. Please take delight in sharing these inspiring stories of converted places.

***Click and hold the button in the center of the photo with the two arrows and slide it side-to-side to see the before and after images.


Fort Pierce, Florida

Like many towns in America, by 1990, Fort Pierce had largely asphalted its downtown into a lifeless heat sink for moving and parking the car. A young Barcelona-born town planner, Ramon Trias, created this illustration to show what Fort Pierce had become, and what they could yet do. The town acted on this vision, and today downtown Fort Pierce is one of the most successful stories of downtown transformation in America.

Image Credit:  Ramon Trias


West Palm Beach, Florida

Downtown West Palm Beach was the daytime workforce for the County, but largely abandoned at night and with fear of crime. An enterprising Mayor, Nancy Graham, commissioned a powerful and robust charrette group, led by DPZ, to imagine a better future. Engineers told the mayor that by taking lanes away to build better streets that the nightly flight of workers would be slowed to a crawl (not a bad thing). A development team took up the vision and the challenge and carried out this restoration, bringing new prosperity that fueled many neighborhood conversions. Remember: start with your center.

Image Credit:  Dan Burden


University Place, Washington

This is one of the greatest stories ever told. In the mid-1990’s, University Place had no university nor any place. The entire town had been built with only strip centers. Lacking a downtown, this town of 30,000 population had to start from scratch. Their 5-lane main street, Bridgeport Way, was a killer road in more than one sense of the word. Dan Burden inspired them to rebuild Bridgeport, adding medians, sidewalks, trees, and parking. The town bought the strip center, and created their new town center, which attracted many new stores including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Today the town has a place, a heart, and a soul.

Image Credit: Dan Burden and University Place Staff



Victoria, British Columbia

Not all conversions cost millions of dollars. We are inspired by Victoria, one of the most livable towns in the world, for transforming the simplest things. As the last “wooden street” in Victoria, the origin of this alleyway belongs to Alfred Waddington, a local gold rush entrepreneur and businessman who first built the alley in 1858. The wooden brick alley needed some love, and they got it. Today, Victoria has an added gem of its alleys being transformed leading tourists into many hidden nooks and crannies, just one of the many treats for this city of love and beauty.

Image Credit: Dan Burden


Brattleboro Gateway, Vermont

Imagine pulling off the freeway to this scene. With the need to buy a few camping necessities at this intersection, what is the draw to bring you into downtown where the real prize is found? With a bit of love, this intersection could be a gateway to a full day’s worth of joy found in the town center.

Image Credit: Dan Burden and Todd Clements


Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Many downtowns took out needed parking and a sense of place to fuel the nightly flight of workers. Pottstown converted this 5-lane mess into a more attractive, functional, and restorative 3-lane street to bring back prosperity to its center. Trying a new way to park, they converted parallel to back-in angled, adding bike lanes and more parking to further correct the speeds of traffic.

Image Credit: City of Pottstown


Nord Avenue, Chico, California

Nord Avenue is tasked with moving vast amounts of traffic for Chico State and the town. It would cost over $500M just to buy the right-of-way to widen this road. Instead, the design team built this vision to show leaders how to convert a placeless, tasteless road into a true center. Note all the engineering tools, and the role of the developer to provide buildings to honor the street. Building place is a partnership.

Image Credit: Steve Price, Urban Advantage


LaJolla Boulevard, Bird Rock, California

This 5-lane to 2-lane street conversion powered up the small coastal community of Bird Rock. The former 5-lane road induced high speeds that not only took lives, but it also dampened the social and retail success of the street. Today, traffic moves better, getting people home sooner without stopping, and with a string of 7 roundabouts noise levels and speed have dropped 73%. New stores are bringing new life to this repurposed street.

Image Credit: Dan Burden


Batesville, Arkansas

Generally one-way streets harm the life of a main street, inducing speed, crime, abandonment of retail and social life and worse. But when confronted with this possible conversion, Dan Burden chose to keep the one way, but drop one of the lanes to create intersection chicanes and add parking. This revived the town center and allowed traffic to flow unimpeded at low 10 mph speeds, since earlier drive-through traffic is now looking for a place to park.

Image Credit: Dan Burden and Todd Clements


Exeter, Virginia

Often a neighborhood only needs to convert an important overly wide, stark and dead intersection into a lively destination in order to bring new investments and pride. We chose this intersection to raise the imagination of the importance of place to spark new life for Exeter.

Image Credit: Sarah Bowman and Todd Clements


Hurley Way, Sacramento, California

Converting a single intersection to a roundabout can bring about much greater efficiency to allow a former 4-lane street to become two lanes with bike lanes and wider sidewalks, bringing back the social and retail life of streets. By focusing on people and place, not speeding, motorists get home in less time, unless they choose to park and enjoy the new life of their town.

Image Credit: Dan Burden


Safe Route to School, Sacramento, California

Another street conversion illustrates how school access streets might apply motorist-informing triple canopies, sidewalks, bike lanes, to bring about a cooling of streets, safety for students and the desire to walk or bike to school.

Image Credit: Steve Price, Urban Advantage


Marion, Iowa

This high school generates significant traffic, forcing many students to dart across the street when they can. Adding a few crossing supports makes the road more attractive. Traffic is brought back to safer speeds 24-hours per day.

Image Credit: Samantha Thomas and Todd Clements


Winter Garden, Florida

This intersection was to be widened to address peak hour traffic. Instead, with the action of a local citizen, a roundabout, which moves 30-50% more traffic per lane, was built, resulting in a far safer route-to-school for children, and new retail shops.

Image Credit: Dan Burden and Todd Clements


Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach, Florida

This section of Gulf Drive was lethal, inducing a fatality almost every other year. While still working for the Florida DOT, Dan Burden recommended building the state’s first roundabout here in 1994. The resulting change dropped reported crashes to zero and led to the building of a quaint and hearty downtown resurgence.

Image Credit: Dan Burden


Farmington, New Mexico

Converting Main Street from a 4-lane speedway to a destination street, now allowing steady one lane progression in each direction sparked new life and vitality in downtown Farmington. Today Main Street, Farmington is becoming a pedestrian’s paradise.

Image Credit: Samantha Thomas and Google Earth