Alberta Main Street Plan

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Alberta Main Street Plan

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<ul><li><p>!!</p><p>! !!!</p><p>2!!Forward The City of Portlands Main Street program provides resources, both technical and financial, to selected neighborhood commercial districts to support improving the economic vitality of these community centers. The program is based on the nationally proven model developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservations Main Street Center, which teaches a practical neighborhood business district management strategy that focuses on comprehensive and incremental improvements identified and supported by community members. Once organized, local Main Street programs provide a supportive network, business assistance, and continuous promotions that help keep shopping dollars local and the commercial district less susceptible to an economic downturn. </p><p> Our international reputation for sustainability and livability rests on how we support and shape our distinctive neighborhoods going forward. Through Portland Main Street, neighborhoods can organize, promote local businesses, and preserve and enhance the character of their commercial districts. The Alberta Street Plan created by the students of Catlin Gabels urban studies class (PLACE) will contribute to our understanding and appreciation of the Alberta Main Street district. Jeremy Van Keuren Portland Development Commission Main Street Program </p></li><li><p>!!</p><p>! !!!</p><p>3! </p><p>Table of Contents !!1. Forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 2. Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 3. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 </p><p>a. Purpose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 b. Project Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 c. Who We Are . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 </p><p>4. Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 a. Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 b. Preview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 c. Explanation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 d. Project Limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 </p><p>5. Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 a. Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 b. Wayfinding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 c. Pedestrian Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 </p><p>6. Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 a. Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 b. Wayfinding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 c. Gateway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 </p><p>i. High Cost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 ii. Medium Cost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 </p><p>iii. Low Cost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 d. Pedestrian Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 </p><p>i. Curb Extensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 7. Final Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 </p><p>a. Gateway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 b. Pedestrian Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 c. Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 </p><p>8. Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 9. Appendices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 </p><p>a. References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 b. Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 c. Survey Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 d. Citations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 </p><p> !!</p></li><li><p>!!</p><p>! !!!</p><p>4!!Executive Summary Alberta Main Street is a vibrant cultural arts district, motivated to foster its future development. Alberta received a grant from the National Main Street program by organizing and creating a comprehensive plan of its own for their Main Street. NE Alberta St. achieved this, even before the idea of a central Main Street became popularized, and became the first urban National Main Street west of the Mississippi. This plan aims to expand on their 2000 Streetscape Plan and to improve walkability along NE Alberta St. The main focuses in this plan are improved lighting and nightscaping, wayfinding through signage and pedestrian safety. </p><p>Methodology: Initially we researched the different examples of Main Street improvement programs around the </p><p>world and their effectiveness. While incorporating different aspects of other systems, we focused on making our project feasible for application on NE Alberta Street. </p><p> Next, we gathered information from visitors and residents of NE Alberta Street, as well as from case studies and experts in the field of Main Street improvement. This involved conducting interviews and talking with people on and around Alberta. </p><p> Additionally, we created on online survey for anyone to take, to gather data from a larger sample than the people we could speak to individually. The survey helped to develop the best sense of what the public felt most needed improvement on Alberta Street. </p><p>Findings: Through interviews, surveys, and talking with residents and passersby, we found that approximately </p><p>70% of people walk on Alberta instead of an alternative form of transportation, such as driving. 97% of them said that they felt safe doing so during the day. That number decreased significantly at night. </p><p> Although the majority of people feel safe walking on Alberta, most felt that the lighting, crosswalks, signage, and wayfinding could improve their experience significantly. </p><p> The responses to our surveys suggest that the primary reason 82% of people go to Alberta Street is for the restaurants and bars, while 55% say they visit because they live nearby, and 50% of people visit the retail shops. </p></li><li><p>!!</p><p>! !!!</p><p>5! </p><p>Executive Summary Recommendations: The goal of our recommendations was to create an improvement plan to enhance the walkability of NE Alberta Street. </p><p>Our recommendations focused around three key problem areas: Wayfinding and Signage: A gateway welcoming newcomers to Alberta Street will make the area </p><p>more inviting. This could take on any form from traditional arch or post-lintel, to sandwiching the street with two creatively sculptured posts. A protected public map would offer a key to the commercial stretch of Alberta from 10th to 30th, along with the surrounding streets. It will inform the general public of the location of most businesses such as stores, restaurants, and cafes. A bike map should also be included with the public map to help riders know where its safest to ride. Bulletin space around the public map will provide a central location for the community to know whats going on. </p><p> Pedestrian Safety: We recommend implementing curb extensions at intersections to make pedestrians more visible, and to slow down cars by narrowing the road. Additionally, reducing the speed limit would force cars to go more slowly along Alberta, giving pedestrians and drivers alike more time to react to traffic situations. This improves the overall pedestrian safety of the street and would also give Alberta a more relaxed atmosphere. </p><p> Lighting: In areas where the sidewalks and surrounding areas are in need of more light, a combination of medium and low cost options should be implemented. Where lighting is nearly sufficient, using string lighting in trees may be implemented. Finally, in places where there is a break in commercial businesses and lighting is dim, the installation of a streetlight is the most effective strategy. </p><p> Our goal is to keep Alberta the vibrant artistic community it already is, and expand upon its promise. Since the NE Alberta St. community wants to preserve its individuality, we incorporated artistic elements, sustainability (including economic vitality, equal opportunity, and environmental quality) and support for local businesses. </p></li><li><p>!!</p><p>! !!!</p><p>6! </p><p>Introduction Since the 1970s, Portland has emphasized the development of districts as independent and vibrant communities in its planning goals. These districts tend to focus around a particular Main Street (such as NW 23rd Ave., SE Hawthorne, and SE Belmont) and have developed as areas of commerce and culture with strong identities and sense of place. These enclaves have become destinations for people living in the city, and they attract tourism. Some neighborhoods in north and northeast Portland, such as N Mississippi Ave. and NE Alberta St., are in the process of development similar to that of 23rd, Hawthorne, and Belmont. The process of development occurring in these up-and-coming areas in north and northeast is Portland is similar to that which occurred in other areas of the city, leading to bittersweet changes that are, on one hand, improving neighborhoods and, on the other, causing gentrification. However, the current development plans emphasize the districts unique characteristics and cultural history, and do not seek to homogenize these newer areas of development. The National Main Street (NMS) program seeks to revitalize the nations cities through the Main Street approach. The goal is to bring federal funding to programs that aim to partner businesses and communities together. The NMS has a four-pronged philosophy: promotion, design, organization, and economic restructuring. Through design and promotion, NMS programs seek to improve the image of particular districts through advertisements and campaigns and seek to attract visitors by emphasizing in the areas beauty and history. Through organization and economic restructuring, NMS programs aim to create a solid, sustainable economic plan for the area, with cooperation between business and property owners. The NMS program also seeks to encourage an areas business growth and diversification. In Portland, the Alberta Main Street (AMS) program seeks to apply the goals of the NMS to the Alberta area. It is the first urban Main Street project west of the Mississippi. It has received from the NMS program a district improvement grant of $20,000, although some of that money has already been pledged to ongoing projects. In addition to the district improvement grant, it has received a $5,000 green faade grant from the Portland Development Commission to make storefronts more attractive and reduce environmental impact. Investment, both in monetary and community capital, in public areas in NE Alberta will create an atmosphere amenable to residents, visitors, and businesses, and will create a greater sense of place for the emerging culture of the Alberta Arts District. </p></li><li><p>!!</p><p>! !!!</p><p>7! </p><p>Purpose The goal of our project is to improve walkability on NE Alberta St., focusing on artistic elements, sustainability (including the three Es: economic vitality, social equity, and environmental quality), and support for local businesses. Through a public meeting, community members voted on the top three priority attributes out of many: lighting and nightscaping, wayfinding and pedestrian safety. The ideas presented all revolved around the safety and attractiveness of NE Alberta St. for pedestrians and bicyclists. Lighting and nightscaping illuminates the street for possible increased safety. Wayfinding denotes both directional signs to services for increased mobility, and unique signs to identify Alberta St. as a cultural district. The community also identified pedestrian safety. There are currently many unmarked street crossings that could be hazardous to pedestrians along Alberta. Our plan uses these attributes to try to facilitate the greatest walkability in the Alberta arts district. </p><p>Walkability: a measurement of the transportation and recreation opportunities for pedestrians, which </p><p>considers pedestrian safety, convenience, and route aesthetics </p><p> ! </p><p>Sense of place: things that add up to a feeling that a community is a special place, distinct from anywhere else. -The National Trust for Historic Preservation </p><p> ! </p><p>Nightscaping </p><p>combining products, techniques, and effects to create creative nighttime </p><p>ambiances, while still illuminating the street </p><p>effectively!</p><p>Wayfinding </p><p>enables a person to find his or her direction to a </p><p>given destination of services or areas with </p><p>both effective and unique signs that identify </p><p>the area !The 3 Es of Sustainability: 1. Economic Vitality 2. Equal Opportunity 3. Environmental Quality !</p></li><li><p>!!</p><p>! !!!</p><p>8! </p><p>Project Context </p><p>The Catlin Gabel School PLACE urban studies class is working in partnership with the Alberta Main Street Program to create a comprehensive addition to the Ablerta Streetscape Plan (2000) suggesting ways to improve the walkability of NE Alberta St. through restructuring of lighting, wayfinding, and pedestrian safety. The Catlin Gabel community has a direct stake in the Alberta community as a member of the larger Portland community. Additionally, many members of the Catlin Gabel community live on and use NE Alberta St., furthering the schools interest in supporting the Alberta Main Street Program. </p></li><li><p>!!</p><p>! !!!</p><p>9! </p><p>Who We Are </p><p>We are Catlin Gabel high schools urban studies class, which is part of the PLACE (Planning and Leadership </p><p>Across City Environments) program. Composed of ten well-informed students committed to making a </p><p>difference in our community, the class studied urban planning and the political history of Portland for the first half of the course. For the second half, we worked with </p><p>the Main Street program to improve the walkability of the Alberta area. Our clients, Sara Wittenberg and Elise </p><p>Scolnick, asked us to make recommendations for lighting and nightscaping, pedestrian safety, and </p><p>wayfinding along Alberta. Although we completed most of our project work in the classroom,...</p></li></ul>