63: Downtown Improvement Program
Project Description from submission form
This project includes the design and construction for specific improvements for downtown infrastructure. The project includes improvements to Washington Street and College Avenue. The project would cover the length of Washington Street between Pulaski and N. Thomas Street. Improvements to College Avenue would include the area between Broad Street and Dougherty Street. The project includes new sidewalks, streetscape, new paving, associated storm drainage, pedestrian safety improvements, operational and traffic flow improvements, and enhanced public gathering space. The project would include enhancements to College Square and the City Hall Campus as improved public gathering spaces.
The project introduces a shared street concept that creates a more livable space where motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists safely utilize the roadway. The concept creates a multipurpose streetscape that provides increased opportunities for social interaction through the introduction of a flexible streetscape that can host a variety of recreational and passive community events. College Avenue will continue to accommodate vehicular traffic but can also be occasionally transitioned to a pedestrian-only corridor. To be successful as a flexible space, when used as a pedestrian zone, the corridor must provide places for both large events and small conversations. A variety of seating options can create spaces for small groups to gather or for individuals to relax. A redesign of the corridor would improve the cultural experience as areas can be established for the display of local art and impromptu performances.
To further improve upon the pedestrian experience and create a comfortable, human-scaled corridor, material selection is crucial to the success of a newly designed Washington Street-College Avenue corridor. An example of this would be the use of paving patterns to break up large expanses of a single hardscape material or the height and brightness levels of street and ground-level lighting. Street trees are extremely beneficial to pedestrians and the natural environment. The introduction of street trees at regular intervals provides a rhythm and pattern to urban areas, which frequently contain a variety of storefront designs. Street trees also provide comfort in the form of an overhead canopy, casting shade on paved streets and sidewalks.
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