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krazeeboi

Physical elements of downtown streetscapes

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Several cities have undergone streetscaping programs in their downtowns in an attempt to revitalize the city center. What are some of the physical features of the newer streetscapes, and how effective are they functionally and aesthetically?

As for Charlotte, some of the features are brick-paved sidewalks, granite curbs, flower beds, planters, wayfinder signage, shade trees, etc. The composition tends to differ depending on where you are uptown. Some sections have a "mini lawn" buffer between the street and the sidewalk. The crosswalks bear the stamped pattern in most places with the raised bumps at the edges to assist the visually impaired. The mast arm and pole is the standard feature at intersections to hang the traffic lights and display street names, although there are a few different kinds scattered throughout uptown. Along uptown's main drag, Tryon Street, are the double light poles, and at intermittent spots, there are even brighter double lights to increase visibility. They are also equipped to hang banners advertising features events uptown.

WachoviaPlazafountain.jpg

urbanforest.jpg

treesonCollege.jpg

NorthonTryon.jpg

sidewalkscene.jpg

Cedar_GW.jpg

crosswalk.jpg

The following three aren't mine:

39_26831881454c80279e15.jpg

39_2684004248173e45986b.jpg

2073558866_eaeb0705b0.jpg

Some of the newer streetscaped sections outside of downtown have planted medians, but I don't have any pictures of those.

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Greenville began its quest for downtown revitalization over 25 years ago. Several elements played a part (the Hyatt Regency being one of them), but one of the most important elements was definitely the streetscape improvements. These improvements keep giving back to the vibrancy of the City's urban core today.

Back in the day, Main Street was narrowed from 4 to 2 lanes, sidewalks were widened, and diagonal parking replaced the parallel spots. Additionally, landscaping was carried out, benches and light posts were added, and more unique traffic signals and signage were added on arms. Today, the tree canopy drops the summer temperature on Main Street several degrees and produces a nice setting for outdoor seating.

That was in the 70's. Today's extensions of the original streetscaping project can be found extensively in the West End district, but also along Laurens Street, McBee Avenue, at Heritage Green, along the River, and many other smaller sections throughout downtown. These 21st century improvements typically includes brick accents in the sidewalk, decorative light posts, benches, landscaping, and fountains.

Here's a few images:

South Main Street -- West End. Since this photo was taken several years ago, the utility lines have been buried and many of the buildings now have tenants and activity exists.

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River Street -- City Center

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I'll have to search for more photos of the River front, the original streetscaping in the 1970's, the Laurens St and McBee Ave upgrades, and pictures of the West End details. More to come, I hope!

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...Back in the day, Main Street was narrowed from 4 to 2 lanes, sidewalks were widened, and diagonal parking replaced the parallel spots. Additionally, landscaping was carried out, benches and light posts were added, and more unique traffic signals and signage were added on arms. Today, the tree canopy drops the summer temperature on Main Street several degrees and produces a nice setting for outdoor seating...

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One thing I like about Main Street are the grates that surround the bushes and trees. Also, what exactly is the sidewalk material?

The wayfinding signs are a great touch as well.

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Two more images of Greenville's Main Street streetscape:

MainStsidewalk.jpg

DTwayfindingsign.jpg

One thing that helps downtown Greenville tremendously is consistent branding. The city's symbol (the "g" sign) can be found on everything from lightpost banners to manhole covers.

Raleigh, NC's Fayetteville Street was once a pedestrian mall but was streetscaped and opened back up to vehicular traffic about two years ago. Some elements of that street's streetscape include large planters and classy black mast arm/pole traffic lights and street lights:

26.jpg

28.jpg

36.jpg

39.jpg

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