Market Street Design Progresses

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Thursday February 28, 2013

After a productive and well attended initial Market Street Design workshop during community visioning week, the second step in the process began with workshop two on Thursday night. Streetscape and stormwater experts who had facilitated at the previous meeting had compiled and summarized the ideas generated from the previous session and presented them in slide format to get everyone on the same page. At workshop one, groups discussed the themes of walking, biking, landscaping and environment, roadway and parking, and recreation. The result of those conversations found much synchronicity among visions. Most people wanted natural landscaping with the incorporation of stormwater design, minimal roadway speeds, a diverse streetscape, wide sidewalks, and public art. 


On Thursday, individuals were once again divided into groups and asked to move among four stations, which displayed maps of various options for how Market Street could look. They included or excluded to varying degrees items such as urban stormwater systems (which collect, treat, irrigate, and infiltrate), cycle tracks, sidewalk width, and parking (parallel, on-street, diagonal, and back-in). People were asked to site pros and cons about each option which showed both the middle of the street and the east end. Some concepts showed a lot of variation between the middle portion of the street and the east end, both in terms of landscaping options and cyclist accommodation, while others showed a more continuous theme. 


Many seemed to like the idea of back-in parking rather than parallel; space for cyclists seemed important, as well as preserving and promoting the most natural street feel possible, particularly on the east end. One map showed parking in the middle of the street, with the idea being that cars could be moved for special events. Essentially, the festival space would be built-in. While initially an attractive idea, as people moved through the stations, the consensus became that there was too much space dedicated to parking. The sheer amount of pavement conflicted with the desire for green space. Parking will be a necessity, and underground is not an option given the height of the water table, so this will inevitably be a challenge that the designers will face when they present their draft design on March 7 for community review.  


Project Director Ilona Blanchard will be compiling the comments from the meeting and posting them to the City website. People who could not make it to the meeting will also be able to look at and comment on the design concepts which were presented. The Placemap at www.sbpathtosustainability.com is another way to have your voice heard. Stay tuned or show up March 7 to see how Market Street evolves! 

SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent