Downtown Planning and Sustainable Development - A New Service

NEXTSTEPS for Downtown (TM) is a new service for communities looking for fresh ideas to enhance and invigorate downtown areas. The goal is to strengthen Main Street by achieving short-term and long-term goals that meet a community's unique needs.

Online PR News – 24-June-2009 – – NEXTSTEPS for downtown™ is a path to ideas and solutions. It includes honest observations that point out how the entire downtown environment could be even better. Birchler Arroyo Associates, Inc., an award-winning community planning firm with a 20-year track record of quality community plans, will conduct an intensive assessment that includes a walking tour of downtown and informal meetings with merchants, residents, staff and officials. We will consider how the following affect the quality of downtown:

Signage: How are businesses communicating to the public? What do the signs say about the downtown environment?

Street Lighting: Is the downtown well-lit, safe and appealing?

Window Displays: What are shoppers’ first impressions of downtown businesses?

Connectivity: How are neighborhoods connected to downtown? How is traffic flowing through downtown?

Downtown Sidewalks: What is the quality of sidewalks? How are the downtown sidewalks functioning?

Streetscape Continuity: How does the streetscape enhance or deter pedestrian movement along downtown streets?

Maintenance of the Public Realm: How well-maintained are public spaces? What private spaces function as public spaces?

According to Birchler Arroyo Associates, Inc. Vice President Rod Arroyo, "We will develop specific short- and long-term strategies (i.e., Next Steps) for downtown based on input from stakeholders and the observations of our experienced, objective professionals."

The final product is a toolkit that links many strategies to downtown Best Practices, so that one community can learn from the successes of others. The recommendations are included on an interactive disk that features helpful images and graphics, best practices reference sheets, and links to other resources.

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