Downtown Milwaukee needed to update their outdated wayfinding for Summer 2020 events and to orient visitors in 2021 as COVID-19 travel restrictions lifted. While the timelines and budgets for these signage initiatives were very different, the end results have welcomed new visitors by improving these downtown environments. Our session will discuss the process and lessons learned during these gateway and wayfinding signage projects.
Active Transportation and Mobility
Parking always represents an immediate issue. Cities are interested in avoiding or minimizing the need for expensive parking to support new investment as well as reducing automobile trips. This panel will explore near-term mobility strategies to address parking, including innovative, comprehensive suites of transportation demand management (TDM) tools.
Adelee Le Grand is a leader, with over two decades of experience, who is passionate about utilizing mobility as a tool to create and sustain vibrant equitable communities. As the HART CEO, she is focused on elevating the value of Public Mobility as the foundation of environmentally sustainable equitable communities.
The 2019 Downtown Memphis Parking Study was commissioned to craft a new approach to parking in Downtown Memphis, shifting policy from simply building more parking to a holistic approach centered on mobility. The great success of the study was it’s intention from ideation to go far beyond parking management, and Memphis’s wherewithal to immediately put the plan into action.
To support local economies during the current pandemic, municipal and downtown district leaders will hear from three experts who have their eye on parking and curbside policies and opportunities for interventions. Learn about overall trends and implications resulting from changes in travel habits, declines in transit use, an anticipated rebound in commuting by private vehicle and an uptick in bicycling and curbside use.
The Golden Triangle BID installed 11 bioretention cells and 10 expanded tree boxes on the sidewalks of one of the neighborhood’s key streets. At over $1 million in construction costs and two full blocks of new green infrastructure, this is the largest capital improvement managed by the BID thus far. By building the new bioretention cells and expanded tree boxes, the BID converted 4,500 of concrete to new green space and added 33 trees and over 400 native plants.
Cities around the nation are tackling the issue of parking head-on, as the status quo is no longer working. The cities of Poughkeepsie, NY and Memphis, TN have reframed their parking discussions, not as the end itself, but as a development tool and maintenance of a sustainable community. What can you learn from their experiences?
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?
An innovative program in downtown Columbus, Ohio has stimulated commercial leasing, reduced employee turnover, doubled the use of transit among the pool of eligible employees, and prevented the emission of more than 6.8 million pounds of CO2 per year. Launched and funded by downtown property owners, Downtown C-pass allows eligible companies to offer free, unlimited transit to their employees.
The project, undertaken by the Downtown Austin Alliance, builds on the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to reconstruct Interstate 35 through the downtown core. I-35 is an immense highway with a deep, complicated history; a structural barrier that has caused division in our community for decades. Our project aims to enhance TxDOT investment, making the most of this once-in-a-generation opportunity by creating a shared community vision that will improve quality of life.
In late 2019, P.U.M.A. and IDA jointly released the 2020 Global Trends Report highlighting opportunities arising from converging shifts in demographics, lifestyles and a new category, “disruptive forces,” that are shaping our cities. Little did we know that months later we’d be in the midst of the disruptive events of our lifetimes – the pandemic that has wreaked havoc on public health and economies, and the American protests for racial justice that could accelerate dramatic social change.
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.
Following significant budget cuts for the City of Tempe in 2010, the Downtown Tempe Agency proposed to City leadership to take over the parking enforcement and presented a plan that involved using existing funds generated by the on-street meter program. They knew introducing a more consistent program would enable parking revenues to increase. The DTA also planned to replace the single space coin-fed meters with credit-card-enabled meters.
A checklist of priorities a BID should have in mind at various stages of the development of a nighttime economy.
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.
Preparing for an uncertain parking and transportation future. Panelists dive deep into how downtowns and college campuses are working together to address parking challenges. Case study examples include North Carolina State University, University of Alabama Birmingham, and Arizona State University, and how to start thinking about planning for shared autonomous vehicles.
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.
Great streets are the hallmark of successful cities. In cities that lack underground rail, surface street buses are the lifeblood of downtown mobility, and one or two streets can act as dedicated busways. In addition to carrying people to and through downtown, these transit streets are also important pedestrian corridors. Learn how Denver, Minneapolis, and Seattle are reinventing the way they do transit and manage their transit streets.
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.
P.U.M.A.’s award-winning Global Trends Report has been a go-to resource for downtowns for more than a decade. This debut of the 2020 edition will provide insight on what’s next for downtowns given shifts in demographics, lifestyles and competition. The panel will also provide provocative recommendations on how downtown managers can adapt to and get ahead of trends shaping our cities.
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.
Tony Seba is a lecturer in entrepreneurship disruption, and clean energy at Stanford University, a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur and a world-renowned thought leader and speaker. He is the author of the #1 best-selling book “Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation – How Silicon Valley Will Make Oil, Nuclear, Natural Gas, Coal, Electric Utilities and Conventional Cars Obsolete by 2030”.
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.
Gabriel Metcalf is the President & CEO of SPUR. Under his leadership, SPUR has grown dramatically in influence and membership. Before becoming head of SPUR 2005, Gabe headed up SPUR’s policy and advocacy work for five years. A prolific writer and speaker, Gabriel earned his Master’s degree in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design.
Rod Schebesch, Transportation Leader, Stantec’s Urban Place, has spent his 26-year career enhancing mobility. He specializes in the implementation of new transportation technology—and in understanding how that technology will transform North American transportation networks. With a focus on building smarter cities, Rod is always striving to find greater infrastructure efficiencies that positively impact the built environment.
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).