News 9-06-08 RDA2 Projects
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Posted by: Pat - 9/8/2008 3:18:23 AM
Whitewater then master plan then gateway. I'd like to see the core refined before more branching out. As the city continues to develop a center that attracts foot traffic and business the fringe areas will benefit but if they begin to branch out before the core is done focus may be lost or funding diverted to less beneficial projects.
Posted by: John Andrews - 9/10/2008 9:12:03 PM
The 2 Virginia Street projects would be my first choices, focusing on the Liberty-Plumb corridor. It's an established retail and service area, with lots of nearby residents, good pedestrian layout, and solid anchors in Downtown and the Park Lane/Shoppers Square/Virginia Lake Crossing shopping areas. There are also long-standing and successful (as well as new and exciting) businesses already lining Virginia Street, as there should be, but it could be a lot more welcoming and more of a destination: wider sidewalks, street furniture, art, public spaces, and denser shops and services.
If there are things to see and do, and it feels comfortable, then people will make it a destination. It's just like a mall with lots of shops that people want to frequent; they will park their cars and cover a mile wandering around. Even a lot of people (some who currently balk at parking more than two blocks away from their Downtown-area destination) would find themselves strolling along Virginia Street for equivalent distances if there were lots to see, eat, drink, or buy along the way.
Say you drive from somewhere else in the area for lunch at Süp. The distance from your car parked around the corner on St. Lawrence to Vassar Street and back to your car is about 8/10 of a mile, or about the same distance you would walk in one complete circuit of Meadowood Mall's corridors (not counting the walk to and from your car. If you factor in that distance on a busy day at the Mall, you could easily tack on a short walk north to California Avenue and back).
California to Vassar and back is not that far -- just over one mile -- but with too many empty lots and 16-inch wide sidewalks with no shade, it just doesn't beg for a stroll, so people who don't already live within walking distance tend to only visit a small portion of Virginia Street, or just one business.
By increasing pedestrian activity and movement, these projects could have a significant positive impact on the entire area including Downtown, the Wells Ave district, and Old Southwest.
Oh, the Whitewater Park extension would be nifty, and master planning -- isn't that a given?