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Economic development Planning for a Downtown that is twice removed from being a main thoroughfare

Hawkeye66

Cyburbian
Messages
616
Points
22
The one I am currently working with was once on a state highway, then the highway moved to the edge of town, then recently it became part of a 4 land and moved further away. Now the downtown is not even close to the 4 lane and isnt even on much of a main thoroughfare anymore. I was thinking of getting them to try to look at something radical like closing off the parking and making it into a plaza.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,772
Points
51
I actually like the idea. You need some attraction like an active theater, concert place, whatever and then allow walk up type retail like bars, restaurants, ice cream shops, boutiques, etc. At the same time don't try to make a 5 mile long plaza (one place I worked thought everything should be pedestrian so they got nothing). Keep it realistic. Even a mile is a lot, but you know that. I thought it was something that could be done in the last town I lived, but they would have raised hell from the old timers who hate change. They did just trying to do a road diet from 4 lane to 2.
 

Hawkeye66

Cyburbian
Messages
616
Points
22
I actually like the idea. You need some attraction like an active theater, concert place, whatever and then allow walk up type retail like bars, restaurants, ice cream shops, boutiques, etc. At the same time don't try to make a 5 mile long plaza (one place I worked thought everything should be pedestrian so they got nothing). Keep it realistic. Even a mile is a lot, but you know that. I thought it was something that could be done in the last town I lived, but they would have raised hell from the old timers who hate change. They did just trying to do a road diet from 4 lane to 2.
I anticipate push back from the old timers, but there is a sense that they need to try something else. I was thinking of it allowing the 2 restaurants and one bar to have patio areas. It would only be a block, maybe 2. Trying to tell them that in 30 years cars wont be the same still takes some doing.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,772
Points
51
How do you tell people there's just not much left on main street that you need a car to get to. Make it some kind of urban park and the city can have events there. The retail drives events, and the events drive retail. It's a good thing and you don't need cars. You might even do something where you have bollards so you could open and close it as needed? Maybe it's just closed Friday after 5 for the party time?
 

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
12,956
Points
52
Widen the sidewalks to encourage outdoor dining
Narrow the street to slow down cars
Plant trees to have shade for pedestrians walking about
Install benches & water fountain (with pet drinking bowl & water bottle filler)
What DVD said


That's basically our streetscape project where 2 of 4 phases are completed & its brought investment & people into downtown. In the infancy of the project, I took an 8' x 2' sheet of plywood and painted it as a bigly comment board. On half write 'ideas' & the other half 'complaints' & hung 6 sharpies so people could write on it. I zip-tied it to a utility pole and left it up for a few weeks - we got a lot more ideas than complaints.
 
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