Expressways cut through communities and stand as barriers to connectivity, economic development, equity and neighborhoods in our downtowns. Learn how a partnership between ODOT, Columbus and the community developed and implemented a nationally recognized infrastructure model using freeway caps and enhanced bridges to stitch neighborhoods together and address the critical topics of quality of life, mobility, economics and opportunity.
Space is at a premium. The hospitality sector needs to expand outdoors to be viable due to new capacity constraints, pedestrians need to spread out to physically distance and the car continues to be viewed as a key mode of transport with public transit usage declining this year. How do we manage these conflicting interests? Who gets priority to use our roads?
The advent of smart and shared transportation systems, spanning from automated shuttles to electric scooters, is rapidly changing mobility in our downtowns. From creating loading zones for rideshare pick-ups, finding space for expanded bike share docks, and defining micro-mobility parking zones, to re-purposing travel lanes, designing shared spaces, managing increased shipping + deliveries, and removing parking requirements, downtowns across the country are handling new challenges creatively.
Downtowns are transforming into more people-centered places by actively prioritizing transit, biking, and walking: the key to moving more people in the same street space. Not only does this require a different approach to planning and street design, but also requires a paradigm shift in thinking. In previously auto-centric cities, changing the status quo takes significant political will and intentional effort. In this session, hear cities’ strategies for making the case for sustainable mobility.
The Greater Des Moines Partnership collaborated with the Iowa Chapter of the Urban Land Institute and the City of Des Moines to seek transportation improvements that could help increase downtown vibrancy. Collectively, the organizations analyzed existing conditions by measuring a multitude of metrics such as traffic counts, bicycle usage, pedestrian traffic, ease of crossing at intersections, sidewalk connectivity, bicycle facilities, connections to trails, lane widths, and number of accidents.
How a thoughtfully designed campus edge, and its seamless connection to the community adjacent to campus, contributes to the overall success of a town/community.
Slides from the master talks sessions featuring Downtown Durham Inc.’s Nichole Thompson, David Dixon from Stantec, and Justine Hollingshead, Chief of Staff and Assistant Vice Chancellor / Packapalooza Planning Team Co-Chair, NC State University Division of Academic and Student Affairs.
What makes a thriving downtown? The correct answer includes policy, programming, design, execution and maintenance. All of these things matter, but design may be the one that is easiest to get right and most often gotten wrong. When done properly with the right homework, urban design may be the most powerful tool to attract people, jobs and investment to downtown.
BIDs across the U.S. describe how they advocate for planning strategies, invest in research and community outreach, support new infrastructure and technology, and develop partnerships to collaborate on multi-modal transportation initiatives that shift the language around parking challenges in downtowns. Collaborations and marketing efforts by the organizations ensure multi-modal transportation networks are successful additions to urban livability and vibrancy.
Our experience of a downtown doesn’t follow the clean boundaries of a BID or other district, and yet our charge as place managers is often defined by these hard edges. How can downtowns engage with adjacent neighborhoods to create more successful, thriving districts? Drawing upon lessons from three cities, participants will leave with a toolkit of strategies for anticipating common issues and seizing opportunities for working beyond their boundaries.
Explore how BIDs and community organizations are initiating and advancing the next generation of imaginative park and transportation infrastructure projects that breakdown barriers and enhance mobility, create place, enhance livability and spur economic development for downtown. Featured projects include the Crystal City to Washington National Airport (CC2DCA) Intermodal Pedestrian Connection in Arlington, VA; Rail Park and Dilworth Park in Philadelphia; and the 11th Street Bridge Park in DC.
The Crystal City BID saw an opportunity to further leverage the DCA airport’s proximity to their downtown by bringing it a few steps closer. A new pedestrian connection could harness the multitude of transportation assets in Crystal City, seamlessly link them into a multimodal hub, and position the neighborhood to attract additional rail services such as Amtrak, regional commuter rail, and even a future high-speed rail station.
The Commonwealth Canal Promenade was a key revitalization component to Chandler’s long-term redevelopment plan. The project included clearing oleanders and palm roots, re-establishing the flow line and concrete lining, and constructing a canal promenade. Other improvements included an art fence, railings with historic information panels, a courtyard, landscaping, lighting, drainage and roadway reconstruction. Collaboration with all involved parties ensured the project’s successful completion.
The project was initiated to accelerate mobility improvements to a developing corridor in an Asheville neighborhood. Coxe Avenue formerly contained a high density of automotive uses but is now the site of mixed-use developments and dining options. The project involved a public engagement process, held on a compressed timeline. The design features a shared-use path and an intersection mural. The final installation includes eight new crosswalks, a multi-use path, and the 6,000 sq. ft. mural.
Winter Walk SF was an effort to replace above ground construction with a holiday themed pop-up activation. The Union Square BID developed a concept for the construction moratorium period. It was based on creating a flexible, contemporary urban space that invited shoppers and visitors, was easy to maintain, opened up new lines to the stores and allowed extensive programming. The final design included an allowance for food vendors, green turf, and lighted benches for people to enjoy the open space.
The team conducted a street-by-street analysis (20 miles total) of existing conditions including lane width, sidewalk width, on-street parking, traffic speeds, pedestrian traffic, and ground floor vacancy to gauge how existing conditions impact the efficiency and economic functionality of downtown. With fieldwork completed, the team engaged with city planning and traffic engineering staff to better understand the thought and efforts going into street reconstruction and striping efforts.
The Urban Backyard Project is a series of vinyl wraps covering existing Los Angeles Department of Transportation signal cabinets. Building off similar public art programs, the wraps display wayfinding information including directional signage, maps, points of interest, and walking distances. Because of the low cost of installation, as the neighborhood changes individual panels will be updated and replaced, allowing the project to provide updated pedestrian wayfinding in a changing environment.
To better serve area residents and businesses, and accommodate multiple forms of transportation, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) hired a consultant to assess the feasibility of the two-way restoration. The results this process yielded supported the creation of a complete streets environment with a two-way restoration of Orange and Magnolia Avenues, more on-street parking, additional pedestrian crossings, enhanced landscaping, and completing a gap in a bicycle beltway.
Midtown Association sought the creation, and execution of a parking and transportation communications plan that would invite a target demographic, females 25-45 years of age, into Midtown by presenting an ‘easy’ outlook of various transportation options available. The campaign highlighted transportation methods and parking in Midtown and showed the ease of using technologies associated with on-street and off-street parking and alternative transportation including bicycling, transit and walking.
The Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Alliance came up with several innovative solutions to improve 37th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue in midtown Manhattan so that it is both functional and inviting. The BID added a series of elements to the street, including a mid-block crossing, three neckdowns, protected seating, over 30 planters, two murals and an extra-wide the parking lane, creating a de facto bike lane until an actual bike lane can be installed.
Jeff Speck, AICP, CNU-A, LEED-AP, Honorary ASLA is a city planner and urban designer who advocates internationally for more walkable cities. As Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 through 2007, he presided over the Mayors’ Institute on City Design and created the Governors’ Institute on Community Design.
John Bela is an urbanist and public space designer with Gehl Studio San Francisco. He combines a background in art, science and environmental design to create vibrant, dynamic and resilient urban human habitats. A pioneer in user-generated urbanism, John has successfully completed many projects that involve radical new formulations of social space. John is a senior lecturer at the California College of Arts in San Francisco and a distinguished lecturer at U.C. Berkeley.
Larisa Ortiz is Principal of Larisa Ortiz Associates (LOA), an award‐winning downtown retail advisory firm, and a Mayoral appointee to the New York City Planning Commission. Since founding LOA in 2008, Larisa has developed retail and implementation strategies for over 200 districts worldwide. Larisa is the author of “Improving Tenant Mix: A Guide for Commercial District Practitioners” (ICSC, 2015) and “Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse” (IEDC, 2000).
While retaining its traditional role as the major jobs center for Western Pennsylvania, downtown Pittsburgh has grown in prominence as a cultural, dining, and entertainment destination and seen the rapid growth of its residential population. Despite this evolution, the physical infrastructure systems of downtown –roadway, parking, bus, and pedestrian– have not kept up with the increasing and changing demands placed on them.
The Downtown Development Framework (DDF) is both a vision for downtown Oklahoma City and an innovative set of guidelines The DDF provides specific direction for development, by defining land uses and density and guiding the design of the public and private realms. Application of these development guidelines will help perpetuate downtown as a dense, vibrant, and sustainable core of commerce and culture in Oklahoma City.
Seattle is notorious for bad traffic. For the business community, this fact presented an obstacle for job growth. The Downtown Transportation Alliance formed Commute Seattle, a transportation management association incorporated within and managed by the Downtown Seattle Association, which collaborates with businesses to enable them to achieve community transportation objectives.
The people of downtown Vancouver wanted a connected series of activated alleyways that are welcoming spaces with hidden gems to discover galleries, restaurants, and art walls. Between April 2016 and September 2016, DVBIA worked with the city to obtain permits, developed partner agreements, did construction, and launched the laneway. The More Awesome Now Laneway project was referenced in city council’s approach to creating a new places and spaces strategy for downtown.
For decades, two of the major parks and greenway segments in Downtown Huntsville were disconnected due to historically poor urban design and planning. This prevented downtown users from realizing the health, recreational, and multi-modal transportation benefits of an inter-connected downtown greenway network. One of the most unfortunate parts of the disconnection was that the segments contained affordable housing, senior housing, and newly developed urban lofts on each side.
Connect Downtown is an initiative led by the City of Des Moines, Urban Land Institute Iowa and the Greater Des Moines Partnership to investigate opportunities to make getting around downtown Des Moines safer, more comfortable and more convenient. The Connect Downtown project began with a survey of existing conditions in downtown including: traffic counts, bicycle usage, pedestrian traffic, ease of crossing at intersections, sidewalk widths, sidewalk connectivity, bicycle facilities, and more.
Emerging transportation technology, new mobility concepts, and smarter infrastructure is helping cities tackle congestion and pollution challenges in new ways. From autonomous vehicles to artificial intelligence, connected service will create opportunities for new mobility options and force our streets to work differently than they ever have before. It is important that cities prepare for these changes to encourage seamless integration with existing public transportation.
In many ways, urban place management organizations such as business improvement districts (BIDs) continue to lay the foundation for pedestrian improvements by creating a clean, enjoyable environment for pedestrians. However, more effort is now needed to develop the infrastructure necessary to further capitalize on the trend of living, working, and playing in downtown areas. As global populations shift toward urban centers, the opportunity is ripe for downtown areas to improve walkability.
New residential and retail development is remaking downtowns into 24/7 neighborhoods. The changes have made a 70s-era pedestrian zone and several other previously unnoticed corners into more important public spaces, but planners face challenges as they try to cater to new pedestrian needs. See how local planners used low-cost experiments, sensor technology, social media, and new ways to communicate the value of public space to make change happen.