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.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Alexandria Virginia looks to pedestrianize the foot of King Street abutting the waterfront (public meeting tomorrow)

In the vein of some recent pieces suggesting that we can begin the process of creating pedestrian districts in US cities by starting small, with a block or two, depending on the circumstances:

-- "More about making 17th Street between P and R a pedestrian space on weekends" 2019
-- "Making "Downtown Silver Spring" a true open air shopping district by adding department stores" 2018
-- Items #1 and #2 under Silver Spring, in "Revisiting the Purple Line (series) and a more complete program of complementary improvements to the transit network," 2019
-- "Sadly, DC won't show so well during the Baseball All-Star Game," 2018
-- "Urban design considerations for the area around Washington Nationals Baseball Stadium in advance of the 2018 All-Star Game, 2017

I was surprised to learn that Alexandria, Virginia is moving forward on a similar idea, for the 100 block of King Street, which abuts their waterfront district ("King Street Pedestrian Zone Moves Forward" and "Survey: Most Residents Approve of King Street Pedestrian Zone," Alexandria Living).

Current conditions, 100 block of King Street.
King Street, 100 block, Alexandria, Virginia, current conditions

A public open house is scheduled for tomorrow:

-- 2 – 4 p.m. at 201 N. Union St., Suite 110 Alexandria, VA 22314 in the ALX Community space.
-- King Street Place project webpage
-- Letter to businesses and property owners

As an indication of how long it takes to move innovation forward, this concept was first laid out in 2012, and there were four weekend pilot tests in 2016.

King Street Pedestrian Plaza Concept Plan: Rendering
King Street Pedestrian Plaza Concept Plan: Rendering, Alexandria Virginia

Then again, Alexandria's planning for its waterfront has been controversial and ongoing too.  Related initiatives have been the city's wayfinding program, which is centered on King Street between the waterfront and the King Street Metrorail station, and general improvements along the waterfront.

It's block oriented wayfinding program is the best of any community in the DC area.

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At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is nice to be able to see water now at the end of King. The interim park space is still a work in progress, but there is activity there.

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

In the RFP response for Eastern Market's strategic plan I made the point that EM/Capitol Hill needs to be planned for as a destination, and one of the competitive destinations (outside of other places in DC like Navy Yard, The Wharf, H Street, and Union Market) is Alexandria.

So the weekend after the presentation (which we won, I am still surprised, but I gave the presentation of my life, and our problem statement was likely the most focused and detailed) I went to check out a couple competitive destinations including the Alexandria Waterfront.

(We had been there in April.)

There was a craft beer festival, but I missed virtually all of it.

I was still impressed by the various space improvements, playground area and arts installations.

At 2:07 PM, Blogger steve44 said...

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