Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Mayor Williams Signs New Bus Shelter Contract; $100 Million Earmarked for Great Streets

(I have some reservations about this, although the money's good, and with my limited computer access at the moment, I can't write much. On the other hand, in Portland, the Streetcars have sponsors and so do many of the shelters along the Streetcar line. "This stop is sponsored by Powell's City of Books," etc. and the sponsor's name is imprinted into the metal structure).

From Bill Rice, Spokesperson, DC Department of Transportation

(Washington, DC) Mayor Anthony A. Williams today signed a new citywide bus shelter contract with Clear Channel Adshel, which has agreed to build close to 800 new shelters within two years in the city's neighborhoods and downtown and to pay the District more than $150 million over the next 20 years in exchange for advertising panels on the shelters. The District has earmarked $100 million generated from this contract to finance Mayor Williams' Great Streets program to improve and beautify some of the major transportation corridors in the District.

"This is a triple win for the District," said Mayor Williams. "We get new, clean bus shelters and much needed revenue as well as financing for the Great Streets program that will improve the streetscape and economic vitality of key roadways in the city."

In addition to the shelters themselves, which will be made of vandal and graffiti-resistant materials, ClearChannel Adshel will provide bus maps, real-time bus arrival information in cooperation with WMATA and a computerized bicycle rental program. ClearChannel Adshel will also manage the heritage trail and directional sign programs and give the District $350,000 in ad credits for local and international DC promotion.

Additionally, the company will set up a Web-based maintenance monitoring and reporting system and a 24-hour service line.

The Great Streets program that will be financed by a portion of the bus shelter revenue will improve and beautify some of the grandest corridors in Washington including: Pennsylvania Avenue SE, H Street and Benning Road NE, Nannie Helen Burroughs NE, Georgia Avenue and 7th Street NW, Minnesota Avenue NE/SE, and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and South Capitol Street. These corridors will be refurbished with new sidewalks, curbs and gutters, street lighting, trees and mass transit improvements that will help uncap the potential in the surrounding communities by attracting neighborhood retail, housing and jobs.

The prototype for these Great Street improvements is the recently completed 8th Street/Barracks Row streetscape in Southeast. Just three years after the expenditure of $8 million in improvements, the area boasts 34 new retail shops and nine new outdoor cafes. Additionally, most of the existing retail has been able to stay, adapt and thrive.

The District Department of Transportation negotiated and will administer the bus shelter contract. To evaluate the initial submissions, DDOT convened a 19-member public-private review panel, including representatives of the Committee of 100 on the Federal City, Federation of Citizens Associations, Downtown Business Improvement District, Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, DC Vendors Caucus, Capitol Hill Restoration Society, and the National Capital Planning Commission.

Community input will continue through an advisory committee as well asthrough meetings in each ward on design, location and installation schedules. ANC representatives will be notified prior to installation.

Transportation Director Dan Tangherlini thanked Councilmember Carol Schwartz, chair of the Committee on Public Works and the Environment, for her contributions to the contract. "Councilmember Schwartz suggested increased payments for shelters around the new baseball stadium and in the area of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative - thus, payments to the District were increased by more than $1 million," he said.

ClearChannel Adshel was selected competitively, based on advertising and revenue, product design and manufacturing experience, maintenance and operation commitment and qualifications and experience. Martina Schmidt, president, represented the company at the contract signing.

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