The small city of Ithaca in upstate NY has a terrific downtown, with a nice array of new and old buildings and a walkable, pleasant streetscape. It helps that the cidy is supported by two larges colleges, providing plenty of students for walking and playing in the area.
Unfortunately, away from downtown, the urban design degrades to some not so-good-examples of sprawl and glopscape infrastructure layout. The picture below shows a view of the crossing of North Meadow Street over the Six Mile Creek, a few miles south of downtown. In building the bridge and considering a junction with West Clinton Street immediately to the north, North Titus Avenue was cutoff in a wide, useless cul-de-sac.
Between this dead pavement, and an unfortunate utility bridge to the west and the plazas and parking lots, what could have been a pleasant riverbank area instead is a paved over, formless mess. Zoning and individual design requirements probably led to the overall design decisions made at this crossing. The individual requirements for traffic, setbacks, parking etc. in the aggregate resulted in a poor layout and lost opportunities.
Maybe this area could be improved in the future by removing the dead stub of North Titus Avenue on the north side of the river and reconnecting to the river bank. That's one small change, but also an example of the types of improvements that could be made to existing streetscapes that have been scarred by 20th century sprawl.