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No new posts are being added to this blog. For planning news and updates, check out The BIG Picture Huntsville (also on Facebook). For transportation info, check out the Huntsville Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Downtown Ideas Results

Thank you again to everyone who participated with the second Ideas Map, which focused on general downtown ideas. Through Facebook and the SeeClickFix map, over 400 individual ideas were submitted, with 2,500 "likes" and 16,000 page views. The "Moving Chalkboard" made several appearances on TV and at Concerts in the Park, and had to be erased at least once to make room for new ideas (don't worry, we took pictures).

Special commendation should be made to the four City of Huntsville interns in the Mayor's Office-- Jessica Carlton, Ted Gillespie, Ryan McArthur, and Kyle Tipton-- who volunteered their time this summer to work on this project. They were the ones who made it all happen.

Below are the results, sorted by category and by platform (Facebook or SeeClickFix). I expanded the top ideas (where applicable) to give you a better idea what the user was talking about, with some much-needed grammatical editing.

1. Free Wi-Fi
2. Smart Parking Meters
3. Better Public Transit
4. Electric Car Plug-ins
5. Promotion/enhancement of trolley system

Business and Retail
1. Sidewalk Market
"I have always thought the sidewalk area around the Big Spring should be turned into a shopping district for specialty shops and artists. I know the Huntsville Utilities offices are there, but maybe some of the area could be redesigned for shops or at least have a weekly or monthly sidewalk marketplace. This is such a beautiful area with lots of shade and historical interest."
2. More Local Shops
3. Art Gallery/Studio Space
4. Movie Theater
5. Late Night Diner

Parks and Recreation
1. Street Performers
"Bridge Street has street performers on weekends at night. Do the same on weeknights. If it rains, let them play at surrounding restaurants. A good way to show off the local talent, and it will kep young people out of trouble."
2. City History Museum
3. Baseball Stadium
4. Bigger Splash Park
5. Amphitheater

Ideas Map
1. SmartCode
"Get zoning in place to create the downtown we want to see, not one that allows buildings based on uses."
2. Move the Municipal Complex (City Hall)
3. Roundabout at Church and Monroe
4. Parking Garage Ground-floor Retail
5. Commuter Rail Station

Business and Retail
1. Signature Tower
"Design and construct a ‘Signature Tower of Huntsville,’ one that has offices and residential condos. This would break the height limit on the skyline and promote the idea that Huntsville is sustainable for going up rather than out. Both the Mobile, AL RSA Battle House Tower and the Austin, Texas Austonian Towers are great examples of such projects."
2. Sidewalk Market
3. Affordable Apartments
4. Skydiving Tunnel
5. Comedy Club

Parks and Recreation
1. Active Park
"Provide places for outdoor yoga, tai chi, and bocci ball. Do a small pond for flood control, but keep water in it at all times. Center of pond might be good for scuplture fountain."
2. Sculpture Fountain
3. More Greenways
4. Multicultural History Walk
5. Baseball Stadium

Overall, Cumulative
1. Sidewalk Market
"An indoor/outdoor market with refrigeration and other support facilities for being open everyday."
2. Signature Tower
3. SmartCode
4. Riverwalk/Greenway
5. Affordable Apartments


TimUF said...

a few comments, sorry i missed the reveal, but the Huntsville Stars were playing.

Infrastructure: do we think wi-fi will draw crowds to downtown? "yea, lets go and use our ipod touches along the downtown streets", need a bigger hok to draw people in (this is a recurring theme).

Business and Retail: Sidewalk market...
THere was a sidewalk event going on during your event. Expand it (maybe with your street performers), make it happen more often. http://www.sidewalkartsstroll.com/ A movie theater or some other big consumer commercial anchor would go a long way to sustaining other things like the diner, or other local shops (think the bridgestreet idea, adapted to Downtown).

P&R: Needs to be an anchor, maybe the movie theater is a better fit here. the upgrades at the VBC will help. but theres not a lot downtown to keep the crowds at the VBC in downtown. Diversify the watering holes and bring them closer to the VBC. Maybe in the ground floor of that garage at the corner of clinton/monroe. things like the street performers don't work well without being tied to an event/anchor. Pane e vino's patio does a decent art scene as part of the sidewalk stroll... check it out.

Seems like we are missing the point in a lot of revitalized areas across the country. what brought people into the urban setting was a diversity of culture, retail, nightlife, and parks.Huntsville has a decent mix of some of that across the area, but it lacks that one bustling avenue, the on with the trendy cafe's next door to the small art gallery featuring local artists, next to the small music venue (as opposed to sammy t's, a haven for ... something else). Most of all, and maybe most importantly, a population that wants all this close by is necessary, not sure the bedroom communities of Huntsville do.

Anonymous said...

I am a artist that displayed my art in sidewalk art stroll for a couple of years. People aren't buying any artwork and it is very frustrating for the artists. It seems like it is more of a social event than supporting your local artists.

Anonymous said...

I moved here from Omaha Nebraska which has a great downtown area with loads of restaurants and shopping that are all on the first floors of multi-story buildings with apartments or condos above.

Andrew said...

If an amphitheater and stadium could be placed downtown that would draw thousands of people to the area on any given weekend or even weekday. I think both of these projects would be excellant catalysts for downtown growth.

Anonymous said...

People will not go downtown until there are convenient places to park. When you have to park and walk half a mile in hot, humid weather, most people will go elsewhere.

CSQTown Planner said...

Thanks for good read. I appreciate all the posts. I think sidewalk market is a good idea and may be the closest to reality.
Melbourne city planning

Anonymous said...

More restaurants? In particular some budget/family-friendly places.