Page 1

March 2004

Great Pedestrian & Transit Streets Via del Corso • Fifth Avenue • Market Street • State Street • 16th Street Mall • Nicollet Mall • Portland Transit Mall


analysis rome, italy new york, ny san francisco, ca chicago, il minneapolis, mn denver, co portland, or

great streets via corso 5th avenue market street state street nicollet mall 16th street mall transit mall conclusions

2-4 5-10 11-16 17-22 23-28 29-34 35-40 41-46 47

Prologue Great streets, along with their appendages (plazas, portals, and parks) are the symbols of great cities. By connecting, they make vital and diverse societies whole. By accommodating, they make congregation and communication the theater of community. By design, they reflect the civic aspirations of the citizens. There are no distinguished cities without a great street or two. And there are no great streets that exist without a great city providing context.

Great Streets Contents 1


Market Street

Nicollet Mall

Introduction This document examines six streets—sometimes great, sometimes good, and always noteworthy—to understand their secrets for success and the deficiencies that undermine their promise. At their best, all exhibit four common characteristics. Conversely, failure has always been associated with any retreat from one or more of these. The four characteristics are: 1. Accommodation and balance of the activities that are present (vehicle modes, pedestrians, and adjacent functions all operate without compromising each other). 2. Proper behavior of those activities (buses are quiet and don’t hang around and pedestrians don’t offend each other excessively). 3. Maintenance of the street’s vitality by those who manage it collectively (stewardship is a collaborative responsibility). 4. A design that enriches (the physical quality of the street pleases and inspires all who use it). Each street is unique in scale and operations as they pursue the common goal of serving their respective populations. They also share a common purpose to reflect the higher aspirations of their respective cities while being unique in each city’s image.

Great Streets Analysis 2

North Mall

Central Mall


Criteria for Great Streets In the last half-century, many great streets have lost their luster. This has prompted the development of remedial criteria and strategies from several discerning critics. Bernard Rudolfsky, William White, Edmund Bacon, and Gorden Cullen are among those who have been most perceptive. Of all the criteria suggested for good streets, the most useful today may be those summarized by Alan Jacobs in his book Great Streets. Jacobs suggested five criteria for great streets: 1. They should help build community. 2. They should be physically comfortable and safe. 3. They should encourage participation. 4. They should have memorable qualities. 5. They should epitomize the best of its city and citizens. Over the past three decades, Portland has synthesized physical standards, desired qualities, and construction guidelines for good urban streets. These were derived from extensive research and analyses of good streets in other cities worldwide and the knowledge gained by designing, building, testing, and refining its own projects. As a result, the Portland experience is reflected consciously and coincidentally in the work of others who use the city as an example of successful urban design. In Great Streets, Jacobs also discusses the important qualities that are fundamental to the attainment of a successful street. Order and city structure: Either by design or evolution, city street and block patterns can give order and structure to a city, district, or neighborhood, partly by regular patterns of arrangement, methodological organization, and succession of parts and contrast. Definition: Great streets have boundaries that are usually walls (buildings) that communicate clearly where the edges are that set it apart, that make it a place. Noticeably, many fine streets are lined with trees that may be as important as the buildings in defining the street. The best streets exhibit what appear to be many owners and mixed uses. These factors help build community. Beginnings and endings of streets should be well marked to introduce us to them and to take us elsewhere. Complementary scale: The buildings on the best streets get along with each other. Magic: We are attracted to great streets not because we have to go to them but because we want to be there.

Density and intensity: Density and land use are important to streets. If void of human activity, streets cry out for pedestrians. A community is established when people live along or near its streets. Leisure and walking: Every fine street is one that invites leisurely, safe walking. Curbs and sidewalks may physically separate people from the street but do not necessarily offer a sense of safety or tranquility. However, trees added at the curb line, if planted close enough to each other, create a pedestrian zone that feels safe. Accessibility: People must be able to get to the street with ease. Besides being places one can walk to, great streets need to be accessible by public transit. Visual engagement: Great streets require physical characteristics that help the eyes do what they want to do: move. Generally, light constantly moves over many different surfaces to keep the eyes engaged. What makes trees so special is the movement of their branches and leaves and the ever-changing light that plays on them. Many, though not all, of the best streets have lots of people on them, and, if for no other reason than their movement, people help make the streets what they are. Transparency: The best streets have a transparent quality at their edges where the public realm of the street and the private realm of property and buildings meet. Transition: On the best shopping streets, there may be a transition zone between the street and the actual doorways of the shops, a zone of receding show windows, and space for outside displays. The best streets are replete with entryways that are as little as 12 feet apart. Windows are important for the person on the street to have a sense of habitation and for the inhabitant to have visual access to the public realm.

North Mall

Maintenance: Care of all the parts that make up a street, as well as use of high-quality materials and good detail design, are essential. Design: Contrast in design is what sets one street apart from another and ultimately what makes one street great and another less so. It is the design of the street itself that makes a difference. The best streets, by and large, are designed and continually cared for. Quality of construction and detail design: Workmanship and materials and how they are used (in design) invite respect, admiration, and stewardship.

Great Streets Analysis

3


Via del Corso

5th Avenue

Market Street

State Street

16th Street

Nicollet Mall

Six Streets and What They Might Say to the Portland Transit Mall Six Streets are portrayed in this document and are examined in some detail. They are Via del Corso in Rome, Fifth Avenue in New York, Market Street in San Francisco, State Street in Chicago, Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, and 16th Street Mall in Denver. Each street is or has been the principal street of its respective city, and each has enjoyed periods of conspicuous success and eras of compromised vitality. All have had experiences that can inform the redevelopment of the Transit Mall. The Corso is the terminating segment of the Via Flaminia, the highway that extended the Roman Empire to Britain. Whether the place for celebrating the latest military victory by Caesar Augustus, the grounds for horse races enjoyed by Goethe, or the front yard for centuries of successive institutions, businesses, and social interactions, the Corso is the backbone of Rome at its heart. Fifth Avenue is more than a great retail street. New York became a city when its focus of energy moved from the Hudson and East rivers to Fifth Avenue. It, like the Corso, is a spine that exposes its users to Manhattan’s diversity, commerce, industry, and neighborhoods and the institutions and public spaces that organize it.

Great Streets Analysis 4

Market Street is another rachis, but more than either Fifth Avenue or the Corso, Market Street accommodates a mammoth volume of trips carried by more than a half dozen modes on three different levels. Market Street’s challenge has been, and remains, balancing its transportation responsibilities with maintaining its inviting and accommodating pedestrian-oriented public realm. State Street in Chicago was the “greatest retail street in the world.” When the Burnham Plan for Chicago identified and redefined the network of great streets that would define its future as a World City, State Street was intentionally left untouched. Daniel Burnham had simply felt that State Street was too good to tamper with, even if it didn’t fit with his beaux-arts paradigm. State Street is a public space, and its strength has been in the stewardship of the businesses and institutions that abut it. When their influence waned, the street’s value diminished. Nicollet Mall, like State Street was the principal retail street of the city. Like the Corso and Market Street, it also connects the heart of Minneapolis’ core to its hinterland. Forty years ago, the private sector reformed it as an enriched street, with transit playing a critical role. Nicollet Mall and Market Street provided the primary points of departure for the design of the Portland Transit Mall.

16th Street Mall was also its city’s most important retail street. And like Market Street, Nicollet Mall, and the Portland Transit Mall, it rebuilt itself as a new, transit-oriented street to revitalize Downtown Denver. Public sector leadership has been fundamental to its design, maintenance, and redevelopment. Over the past two decades, the street has continued to modify itself to strengthen its image and function. The Portland Transit Mall was designed and has been operated with the experiences of these six streets and others in mind. Extract the best and worst characteristics of each, and an approach for the Mall’s evolution can begin to be defined. The following studies provide a glimpse of each street so that the current exploration of the Mall’s future will be enriched.


Via del Corso Rome, Italy

5


Via del Corso, Rome Type: Regional and downtown pedestrian-emphasis street

Context: Much of the Corso is narrow and sharply defined by fourstory buildings on both sides. The street accommodates a variety of retail stores that cater to a wide socio-economic mix of people.

entry at the Piazza del Popolo

1st century.... from city portal to the heart RETAIL CORE 0

1000’

Role in the city: Civic importance: The Corso is a historically important pedestrian connection between the Piazza del Popolo and the Piazza Venezia in downtown Rome. It also links distant destinations via connecting roads at the piazza termini. The Corso is also a preeminent pedestrian retail street. Transit component: Very limited access Pedestrian linkage: The Corso is one of the most important pedestrian streets in central Rome and is the origin of other prominent connecting streets in the area.

Transit and traffic operation: The Corso is not a significant traffic street. It has a casual mix of vehicles and pedestrians, with a bias towards those on foot. At certain times during the day, pedestrian concentrations are great enough to completely dominate the entire right-of-way width, which is approximately 36 feet. During those surges, there is little or no vehicular traffic. Occasionally, emergency vehicles have to force their way through the crowds. Sidewalk space use and building frontage interface: Pedestrian concentrations vary by time of day and day of the week. The Corso has low curbs and narrow sidewalks, but the sidewalks do not function as a separate zone when pedestrian concentrations overwhelm both the sidewalks and the roadway. Management: Emperors, generals, senators, popes, and a variety of other entities contribute to the Corso’s management Pedestrian amenities: Limited; cafÊ seating in adjacent spaces set up daily by restaurants

Via del Corso Rome, Italy

6

Special features: Major fountains and sculpture at the two piazzi

a varying width, a mix of users


the Via Condetti is one of many special streets that occur along the Via del Corso

street

sidewalk

where people want to gather

“as the street widens, as the hours progress, the character and activity of the street changes�

Via del Corso

Rome, Italy 7


when there are too many cars, ... banish them

6’-8’

Via del Corso Rome, Italy

8

22’-26’

4’-6’

36’ varies but put something back


vital statistics

at best, active and accessible ...

Block length

varies

ROW width

variable 36’-0”

Roadway width

20’ - 24’

Sidewalk width zones

4’ - 8’

Via del Corso Rome, Italy 9


Qualities of Via del Corso as observed by Goethe, 18th c ...the width bears no proportion... ...fine year around maintenance... ...active use...on Sundays...feast days.. ...and Carnivale with its nightly horse races

Relevance to the Portland Transit Mall: * * * * *

Via del Corso Rome, Italy

10

Via del Corso is Rome’s central spine, from which other important streets linking the city’s neighborhoods (and retail core) emanate. It has both a strong beginning (Piazza del Popolo) and a strong terminus (Piazza Venezia). Episodic spaces, or largos, occur along its length. These forecourts, piazzas, and enlarged intersections accommodate activities and events that change daily and seasonally. It is the corridor that has historically attracted major events (triumphant processionals, horse races, and scioperos). Street stewards (emperors, popes, and shopkeepers) have continuously adjusted the balance between vehicles and pedestrians to maintain the Corso’s health and vitality.


5th Avenue New York, New York

11


Fifth Avenue, New York City Type: Major retail and traffic street Location in city: Fifth Avenue runs through central Manhattan from Washington Square to Harlem.

Context: The street is lined by midtown corporate offices, veryhigh end retail stores, churches, Central Park, and residential neighborhoods. Improvements/renovations: Improvements on Fifth Avenue are localized and typically associated with adjacent development. Transit and traffic operation: Fifth Avenue is a one-way street with four lanes, three of which accommodate mixed traffic while the fourth is reserved for buses only. Sidewalk space use and building frontage interface: The volume of pedestrians during the business day significantly fills the available sidewalk space, which has traditional pedestrian-through and furnishing zones. Management: The Fifth Avenue Association is a powerful private entity responsible for the quality of the street. Instead of special tax or assessment districts, the Association focuses more on entrepreneurship and enterprise. It has been responsible for upgraded lighting, banners, and benches on the street. The New York Parks Department manages open spaces along Fifth Avenue.

RETAIL CORE 0

1 MI.

Role in the city: Civic importance: In the early 19th century, Fifth Avenue evolved into a prestigious address for prominent businesses, civic institutions, residences, and, later, fine stores. As New York grew into a major world-class city in the 20th century, Fifth Avenue continued to evolve. Today it is arguably the greatest retail street in the world. It is also the designated route for major parades and celebrations. Surface improvements, like paving, lighting, and landscaping, change as the street passes through distinct neighborhoods. Transit component: City buses operate on the street’s right lane. Pedestrian linkage: Fifth Avenue connects Central Park, the retail core, Rockefeller Center, and the New York Public Library to Lower Manhattan.

5th Avenue New York, New York

12

easter parade 1900

Pedestrian amenities: Lights: Special design Trees: Only incidental plantings Benches: Some special benches in retail area Special signage: Seasonal or event banners Enhanced pedestrian paving: Some paving exists in front of certain properties. Design is complementary to the abutting building and is not monolithic (except along Central Park). Special features: Water features, landscaping, and seating are provided at abutting civic spaces, such as the New York Public Library, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park

a spine connecting neighborhoods


a street to face, to value, and to make succesful

vital statistics Block length

200’-0’

ROW width

100’-0”

Roadway width

50’-0”

Sidewalk width

25’-0”

5th Avenue

New York, New York 13


2’

17’ sidewalk 25’

6’

6’ mixed vehicles 50’ 100’

5th Avenue New York, New York

14

17’ sidewalk 25’

2’


good streets attract

relieve

and enrich

5th Avenue New York, New York 15


a pathway

a park

a destination

Relevance to the Portland Transit Mall: * * * * *

5th Avenue New York, New York

16

Fifth Avenue is Manhattan’s central spine; it links a variety of key and representative neighborhoods. A series of spaces and places along its length (Central Park, The Plaza, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Public Library, etc.) attract people to Fifth Avenue. The street changes character along its length to reflect the neighborhoods through which it passes. Surface improvements vary from segment to segment. Major events (parades, celebrations) are frequently programmed and conducted along Fifth Avenue. Abutting properties and businesses, particularly in the city’s commercial heart, carefully manage a consistent quality of improvements and operations. Emphasis is on the character of abutting properties rather than surface improvements.


Market Street San Francisco, California

17


Market Street, San Francisco Type: Regional and downtown mixed-traffic street Location in city: Runs southwest to northeast through the heart of San Francisco

RETAIL CORE 0

1 MI.

Role in the city: Civic importance: Market Street is one of San Francisco’s most important streets. It connects the waterfront, financial, retail, and cultural districts of downtown with southwestern neighborhoods and one of San Francisco’s natural landmarks, Twin Peaks (3 miles away). It has a strong urban design affinity with the newly restored Ferry Building, which terminates the street at its northeast end. Symbolically, the Ferry Building and Market Street are the city’s portal to the waterfront. Transit component: Market Street, in aggregate, is the most important transit street in San Francisco. Underground it carries BART (heavy rail) and MUNI (light rail). On the surface it carries bus and streetcars on the F-Line. Pedestrian linkage: Because of its prominence as a transit street and its formal, axial view to the Ferry Building, Market Street is a primary collector and distributor of pedestrians.

Market Street San Francisco, California 18

Context: Market Street sits diagonally at the juxtaposition of San Francisco’s two major city grids: the smaller, north-south blocks to the north and the large, parallel/diagonal blocks to the south. The highest density of commercial office, retail, and institutional buildings along Market Street is generally between Powell and Steuart streets. Improvements/renovations: Market Street reached it greatest prominence in the 1930s to 1940s, when it carried major traffic as well as five privately operated trolley lines. Trolleys picked up passengers at the Ferry Building and carried them to destinations along Market Street. The street was lined with commercial businesses and was a primary route for major parades and events. After WWII, the decline of trolley ridership and the increasing use of automobiles began to change the nature and vitality of the street. With the construction of cut-and-cover subway tunnels for BART and light rail in the 1960s, there was a major effort to improve the surface appearance of Market Street and distinguish it from other major streets in the downtown area. Widened sidewalks, street trees, ornamental lights, subway entrances, brick and granite paving, and enhanced signage and signals were installed. Initially, rubber-tired trolleys ran a limited service on Market Street using small island platforms. In the 1990s, the Embarcadero Waterfront project provided two transit line extensions that would reestablish surface transit on Market: the MUNI light rail from Market to China Basin and the F-line streetcar service from Market to Jones Street in Fisherman’s Wharf. In the meantime, the city has made a concerted effort to anchor Market Street with new major retail, hotel, and office development. Today there is vitality on Market Street between the waterfront and the Castro District, but other areas have not yet revitalized.

a balance of uses, a collaboration of users

Sidewalk space use and building frontage interface: Pedestrians are well set back from traffic near building fronts. Entrances and ground floor uses are encouraged. The small storefront vitality the street had in the 1940s has changed; larger buildings and more scattered retail uses now line the street. Small plazas and entrance courts add open space and additional pedestrian linkages to Market along its middle section.

Pedestrian amenities: Lights: Ornamental Trees: Double rows of London Planetrees Benches: Custom designed Trash receptacles: yes News stands: In new gang-cluster enclosures and kiosks Movable public or private seating/tables: Only those associated with individual food vendors Special signage: Part of city-sponsored kiosk program Special signals: Specially designed box section poles and arms Enhanced pedestrian paving: Brick sidewalks, granite curbs, exposed aggregate concrete crosswalks Transit shelters: At streetcar only Windscreens: At streetcar only

Management: There is no formal public/private management entity for Market Street such as the Denver Partnership for the 16th Street Mall. City leaders are generally satisfied with Market Street’s current vitality.

Special features: There is a vendor agreement on Market Street for transit shelters. Advertising on the shelter sides helps fund an arts program that features visual arts on both temporary and permanent display.

Transit and traffic operation: The F-Line streetcars are operated by MUNI. Automobiles, buses, and trucks use the street’s outside lanes and also share the inside lanes with streetcars.


sidewalk

streetcar and auto

station

right turn only lane looking west at intersection with streetcar and bus platform

furnishing zone

utilities

furnishing

sidewalk with double row of trees and utilities on center with mid-block turn-outs

station station

bus, streetcar, auto

streetcar lane looking east

vital statistics Block length

variable due to diagonal orientation

ROW width

120’-0”

Roadway width

varies; typically 50’-0”; pull out zones as needed

Sidewalk width

typically 35’-0” overall

Market Street San Francisco, California 19


2’

12’

3’

12’

sidewalk 35’

6’

6’ streetcar, bus and auto 50’ 120’

Market Street San Francisco, California 20

12’

3’

sidewalk 35’

12’

2’


first, isolating transit patrons......

then adding the services and elements that attract more

Market Street San Francisco, California 21


streetcar, bus and auto

sidewalk

amenity zone

Relevance to the Portland Transit Mall: * * * * * *

Market Street San Francisco, California 22

Market Street is San Francisco’s backbone; it connects and gives focus to its districts and neighborhoods. It has a prominent terminus at the Ferry Building. It accommodates an intense mix of transit modes. It is not a primary retail street, but like the Corso, it helps locate and define the retail core. It provides a consistent civic architecture (on three levels) that has maintained a precedent of quality established by abutting buildings. The City, with the support of citizens and businesses, has constantly adjusted the balance of pedestrians and vehicles to maintain the street’s social and economic viability.


State Street Chicago, Illinois

23


State Street, Chicago Type: Mixed-traffic urban street Location in city: Heart of the Loop in downtown Chicago

Context: State Street is a primary retail street in the Loop area with department stores such as Marshall Field’s and Carson Pirie Scott and newer specialty retail outlets. The recent conversion of existing buildings to urban branches of university campuses has added student activity to the street. The new Chicago Library, built in the early 1990s, added a civic attraction to the south end of the street. The density of the surrounding development is generally high. Most buildings directly front onto State Street, and the street’s retail prominence is evident in some of these buildings’ elaborate ground-floor architecture. There are limited open spaces along the street. Improvements/renovations: State Street was substantially redesigned in 1979 from a traditional mixed-traffic street to an exclusive transit mall. The 2–3 lane transitway was configured to weave within the street’s 100–120-foot rights-of-way. Sidewalk areas were resurfaced with pavers and new transit furnishings and lighting were installed. These improvements didn’t engender stewardship of the street by the abutting businesses and property owners, and the street quickly fell into disrepair. The elimination of auto access also accelerated the demise of many retail establishments.

RETAIL CORE 0

1000’

Role in the city: Civic importance: State Street was once the greatest commercial street in Chicago, though it has now been somewhat usurped by Michigan Avenue. Since its renovation in 1996, State Street has regained moderate retail activity and has seen the conversion of several buildings into higher education institutions and urban housing. Symbolically it remains one of the premier streets in the downtown Loop area. It is terminated by the Chicago River and Wacker Drive to the north and Congress Parkway to the south. Transit component: With its subway and buses, State Street is one of the primary transit streets in the Loop. It probably carries more bus lines than any other street in the Loop; however, the share of transit riders carried into the downtown area by bus is smaller than that carried by commuter rail, subway, and elevated heavy rail (the “L”). Bus lines on State Street are primarily city routes that serve both distant and close-in neighborhoods. Pedestrian linkage: State Street has historically been and remains a primary pedestrian destination and route between the south downtown area and the Chicago River waterfront and Northbank area.

State Street Chicago, Illinois 24

After a decade of visions, analysis, and fund-raising by the Greater State Street Council and the City of Chicago, the street was redeveloped in 1996. This new design returned the street to its original mixed-traffic configuration, refurbished it with higher quality furnishings, and re-established its position as one of the premier urban streets in the Loop. Transit and traffic operation: After the 1996 renovation, bus transit mixes with traffic in a five-lane, two-way conventional street. Left turns onto one-way cross streets are allowed. Buses stop near intersections but have no priority lanes or signal preemption. Sidewalk space use and building frontage interface: Sidewalks are most crowded at rush hours, although there is heavier pedestrian movement on cross streets with workers going to and from commuter trains and major parking facilities. Sidewalks are arranged with a traditional furnishing zone and a through pedestrian zone. There is some café seating on the sidewalk where there are restaurants. Management: The Greater State Street Council and Commission, which initiated the early discussions of a new vision, helped implement the renovation and now provides enhanced maintenance and event programming through tax increment financing. This funding vehicle allows the neighborhood to directly address concerns over security, maintenance, special events, repairs, and the design of new adjacent development.

South from Lake Street, between 1869-71 wooden sidewalks still border the west side of State Steet, but at the new grade level. More permanent sidewalks have already been installed on the east side of the street

Pedestrian amenities: Lights: Replicas of the original grand, ornamental street lights with lower-level pedestrian lamps Trees: Set in elongated, raised wells built into vaults; ornamental ground covers Trash receptacles: yes Planters: Part of the tree wells Movable public or private seating/tables: Only at restaurants with sidewalk seating Enhanced pedestrian paving: Colored, exposed aggregate paving with granite feature strips Transit shelters: New vendor designed and installed 5x10’ Deco glass shelters Windscreen: Sides of new shelters Transit seating: Small benches within shelters Special features: Public art, fountains, and landscape


sidewalk streetcar, bus and auto

State Street North from Madison, 1940’s. Few people could afford to use gasoline during wartime. Consequently, Loop streets carried few privately owned autos, while public transportation was crowded beyond capacity. Streetcars and buses, some of them double-deckers, shared the responsibility for carrying most people on the surface.

sidewalk

streetcar, bus and auto

State Street North from Madison, 1923. A study of thirty-nine of the city’s dept. stores in 1926 revealed their total sales as $361,000,000 “18.2% percent of Chicago’s aggregate retail business. “Museums of present day civilization exceeding in numbers, size, grandeur and volume of business even those of New York, London and Paris.

through zone

furnishing zone

vital statistics Block length

400’-0”

ROW width

100’-0” from Congress Parkway to Madison 120’-0” from Madison to Wacker Drive

Roadway width

55’-0” from Congress Parkway to Madison 65’-0” from Madison to Wacker Drive

Sidewalk width

22’-6” from Congress Parkway to Madison 27’-6” from Madison to Wacker Drive

State Street Chicago, Illinois 25


6’

8’

13’-6”

sidewalk 27’-6”

6’

8’

13’-6”

sidewalk 27’-6”

mixed vehicles, all lanes 65’ 120’

State Street Chicago, Illinois

26

2’

9’

9’

sidewalk 24’-6”

2-6’

2-6’ mixed vehicles, all lanes 55’ 100’

9’

9’

sidewalk 24’-6”

2’


State Street Chicago, Illinois 27


furnishing zone

through zone

furnishing zone

through zone

merchant zone

Relevance to the Portland Transit Mall: * *

* * *

State Street Chicago, Illinois 28

State Street has been Chicago’s “main street” from its inception, but it has not always been the city’s most attractive or successful street. Its development as a transit mall has been blamed for its “demise” in the 1980s. Its renovation as a balanced “great street” has re-established much of its former prominence, but it remains a transit-intensive street. A continuity of civic image and a high design quality and level of maintenance complements the important architecture that abuts it. The street is undergoing a successful transition from a retail-dominated street to one of mixed uses. Strong, perceptive private sector stewardship has always been associated with State Street’s most successful eras.


Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, Minnesota

29


Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis Type: Pedestrian-emphasis street Location in city: In the heart of Downtown Minneapolis

The resulting increase in exhaust fumes and noise was considered a significant detriment when the street was renovated in the late 1980s. Currently, Nicollet and three parallel, adjacent streets carry most of downtown Minneapolis’s bus traffic. Pedestrian linkage: The Mall is considered a primary north-south connection. Context: Nicollet Mall is downtown Minneapolis’s primary commercial zone with corporate offices and various retail outlets. Being at the center of the core, it also has a relatively high density. The IDS Center, a mixed-use office/retail complex, is a focal point of activity on the Mall.

RETAIL CORE 0

1000’

Role in the city: Civic importance: Nicollet Street was historically the central retail “main street” for downtown Minneapolis. In the 1960s, downtown leaders who were concerned about a new suburban mall’s effect on downtown set out to reaffirm downtown’s stature as the focus for the region with a dramatic redesign of its central shopping street. Transit component: Minneapolis has an extensive bus transit system that transports approximately one-third of the downtown workforce. Originally, Nicollet Mall carried only smaller, less frequent shuttle vehicles. Over the years, however, more and more standard bus lines were added to the street as the overall system grew.

Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, Minnesota 30

Improvements/renovations: The Nicollet Mall was conceived as an outdoor pedestrian promenade. The right-of-way was designed to reflect a strong pedestrian-orientation with enhanced paving and furniture. Raised planters, fountains, large transit shelters, and trees lined a gently serpentine roadway. Transit service was limited to a small shuttle vehicle that moved people up and down the eightblock mall. Construction was completed in 1967. At the time, it was the most significant conversion of a traffic street into a pedestrian mall in the country. Around the same time, Minneapolis began to embark on developing its “skyway” system of enclosed pedestrian bridges that connected multiple blocks. Over time, this system became a continuous, fully developed retail concourse. Its success came at the expense of street-level vitality, particularly on Nicollet Mall. Many buildings closed their street-level entrances and, in effect, turned away from the street. Soon the Mall began to develop serious maintenance problems due to design and construction. By the early 1980s, there was keen interest in renovation of the Mall to replace deteriorating materials, correct inappropriate details, and give the street an updated look and feel. In 1990 a completely refurbished Nicollet Mall opened to the public. New furnishings and paving were accompanied by a reinvigorated retail orientation. New design guidelines required storefront entrances and a high degree of transparency. Over the 1990s new retail tenants repopulated the Mall, which is enjoying a resurgence of vitality. Transit and traffic operation: Only buses, taxis, and shuttle vehicles are allowed on the Mall, which is a two-way street. Sidewalk space and building frontage interface: In the summer there is successful outdoor dining on Nicollet Mall that is primarily associated with adjacent open spaces so that diners are separated from bus traffic. New buildings are required to have a strong orientation to the Mall (entrances on the street and a high degree of ground floor transparency. Management: The Minneapolis Downtown Council is largely responsible for the implementation of the Nicollet Mall and its management.

The entire range of street furnishings was especially designed for the mall to convert it from a “non-descript experience” to an urbane place to be in. Pavings, bollards, light fixtures, fountains, traffic signs, bus shelters . . . . . have converted the avenue into a place for people to come and shop, linger, meet, and take part in the life of the city all round the clock instead of just 9-5pm.


through zone

furnishing

bus and taxi

bus and taxi

through zone

furnishing

merchant

center median 16th St. Mall paving pattern

center median view looking west at Pike St.

vital statistics ROW width

80’

Roadway width

25’

Sidewalk width

20’ - 35’

Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, Minnesota 31


1’

9’

5’

6’

sidewalk 16’ (varies)

sidewalk 40’ (varies)

busses, 24’ 120’

Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, Minnesota 32

13’

21’

1’


Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, Minnesota 33


bus and taxi

sidewalk

bus and taxi

merchant

sidewalk

Relevance to the Mall: * * * *

Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, Minnesota

34

Nicollet Mall is a ’70s model for improved downtown streets. The original design focused on the quality and continuity of civic architecture and the reinforcement of a threatened retail core. It uses expanded pedestrian and transit activity as a central design concept and a symbol of promise. (Unfortunately, a competing skyway system has compromised its success). A strong management entity oversees the street’s programming, security, maintenance, and promotion. The private sector, along with the City, has continually adjusted transit operation to make it compatible with pedestrian and retail activity.


16th Street Mall Denver, Colorado

35


16th Street Mall, Denver Type: Pedestrian-emphasis street with shuttle transit Location in city: In the heart of Denver’s central business district

Improvements/renovations: When the Mall was constructed in 1981, it was intended to give a sophisticated, European ambiance to Denver’s retail core. Over the next fifteen years, some new retail emerged including Tabor Center, a specialty mall by the Rouse Company. However, the street also lost existing department stores during this time. The 1985 Downtown Denver Plan identified infill mixed-use development at a critical two-block site near the center of the Mall. This was finally developed into a mixed retail/entertainment/ restaurant complex called The Pavilions in the late 1990s. Today, substantial new urban housing, professional sport complexes, and an expansion of cultural facilities within the greater downtown core help activate 16th Street Mall because it is a connecting link for these destinations. Transit and traffic operation: The Mall operates two-way shuttle buses only, in single lanes. Frequency is as high as every 75 seconds at peak hours. There are intersections with signals at every block. Shuttles stop at the near side of every intersection on the red light, load with passengers, then proceed through the intersection on the green light. The shuttle vehicles are hybrid natural gas/ electric powered so they are quieter and produce minimal exhaust compared to diesel buses. There is no regular auto traffic or parking on the Mall.

RETAIL CORE 0

1000’

Role in the city: Civic importance: 16th Street is Denver’s premier pedestrian and retail street. It terminates at the Civic Center/State Capitol to the southeast and at the Denver Union Station to the northwest. A recent extension now adds pedestrian access into the Central Platte Valley and Commons Park. Transit component: A special frequent-service shuttle bus system operates on the Mall. These shuttles, in turn, serve bus terminals at each end of the Mall, where passengers transfer to city and express buses. 16th Street is also served by light rail on parallel cross streets (California and Stout) and at Denver Union Station. Pedestrian linkage: The Mall is Downtown Denver’s primary pedestrian route and destination.

Sidewalk space use and building frontage interface: The Mall has two cross section configurations. The first, at either end, is asymmetrical with a wide sidewalk on the north (sunny) side of the street and a moderate opposing sidewalk. Here, the two shuttle lanes are separated only by light fixtures. The sidewalk allows generous through-pedestrian circulation and ample café seating space. There is a well-established tradition of sidewalk cafés on the Mall. The second configuration is symmetrical, with equal moderate sidewalks on each side and the two shuttle lanes separated by a wide median with double trees, fountains, and other amenities. Originally, this median was used for café seating by adjacent restaurants. That arrangement was problematic for several reasons, including pedestrian-shuttle bus conflicts. Now the median is largely used for general public seating, vendor carts, and open space. Mall management indicates that loitering by indigents is a negative unintended consequence of the median seating area.

Context: 16th Street has always been Denver’s “main” street. Most of the city’s department stores and retail businesses have always been located there. Density is medium to high. Many of Denver’s larger office buildings are located on 17th and 18th streets. There are several public and private open spaces along the length of the Mall, and some of them contribute to the street’s viability while others detract from it.

16th Street Mall Denver, Colorado 36

In the 1920’s, cars shared the future 16th Street pedestrian mall with streetcars and horsecars. 16th Street had replaced Larimer Street as the principal retail shopping street.


sidewalk

bus lane

center median view looking west at Pike St.

plaza median

sidewalk

bus lane

plaza median

sidewalk

bus lane

center median 16th St. Mall paving pattern

vital statistics Block length

265’

ROW width

80’ 120’ southern portion - Pike to Platte

Roadway width

2 bus lanes - 10’-0” 26’-0” with 6’-0” median @ asymmetrical section 42’-0” with a 22’-0” center plaza @symmetrical section

Sidewalk width

35’-0”@ asymmetrical section 19’-0” @ symmetrical sectoin

16th Street Mall Denver, Colorado

37


4’

12’

3’

10’

10’

22’ buses 42’

sidewalk 19’-0”

1’

6’

12’ sidewalk 19’-0”

80’ symmetrical section of the Mall

16th Street Mall Denver, Colorado 38

4’ 4’ 4’

12’ 12’ 12’

3’ 3’ 3’

sidewalk sidewalk 19’-0” 19’-0” 19’-0” sidewalk

10’ 10’ 10’

6’ 6’ 6’

10’ 10’

shuttle shuttle shuttlebuses buses buses buses 26’ 26’ 26’ 26’

13’ 13’ 13’

3’ 3’ 3’

sidewalk sidewalk 35’-0” sidewalk 35’-0” 35’-0” 80’ 80’ 80’

asymetrical section of the Mall

5’ 5’ 5’ 5’

12’ 12’ 12’

2’


Management: 16th Street Mall has the most active management of the six streets studied. The large Business Improvement District generates a tax collected by the City for programs and improvements in the district. The City, in turn, hires the Denver Partnership (a business and civic organization) to administer management and maintenance of the Mall. The Partnership’s responsibilities include: * maintening trees and seasonal plantings; * managing the vendor program by issuing permits, leasing sidewalk space, and controlling the quality of carts and merchandise; * managing movable furniture (the Mall sets out several hundred grid mesh chairs daily for general public use, then stacks and locks them up at night); * managing small special events, including concessions; * making repairs to granite paving in the sidewalk area (average $20,000–30,000 per year); * small capital improvements, such as new wayfinding signs in the downtown area.

a curbless...

The budget for the Mall management programs was increased by 50% in 2001. RTD, the transit agency, makes repairs to granite paving in the shuttle lanes.

symmetrical section of the Mall

Pedestrian amenities: Lights: Custom-designed pedestrian fixtures Trees: Honeylocust, in special vaults Benches: Custom designed Trash receptacles: Custom designed News stands: Denver-regulated newspaper boxes are kept at least 50’ away from the Mall right-of-way Planters: Custom designed Movable public or private seating/tables: Set out daily for general public use Drinking fountains: Custom designed Special signage: Custom designed Special signals: Custom designed Enhanced pedestrian paving: Granite pavers across the entire right-of-way Transit shelters: None Windscreens: None Transit seating: None Special features: Public art, small fountains with stone pedestal seats, and seasonal banners

integrated ROW

asymmetrical section of the Mall

16th Street Mall Denver, Colorado

39


bus lane

plaza median

plaza median

Relevance to the Portland Transit Mall: * 16th Street Mall is the central and historic main street of Downtown Denver. * Like Nicollet Mall, it is a ’70s model for a renewed pedestrian-and transit-oriented street. * The Mall has focused on modulating the behavior of transit so that it is compatible with pedestrian activities. * It is the most refined recent street design solution in terms of architectural quality and atypical transit behavior. * Its image changes as it passes through different neighborhoods. * Like Nicollet Mall and State Street, a public nonprofit organization manages programming, promotion, security, and maintenance. * The private sector has led a public/private commitment to maintain a balance of pedestrian activity and transit operation on the street. This has resulted in a redefinition of its role in sustaining a strong retail core.

16th Street Mall Denver, Colorado 40


Transit Mall Portland, Oregon 41


Transit Mall, Portland

Pedestrian amenities: Lights: Portland’s twin luminaire ornamental street light Trees: Regularly spaced street trees; London Planetrees on threelane blocks; Littleleaf Lindens on two-lane blocks Benches: Custom designed Trash receptacles: Custom designed Newsstands: None Planters: Custom designed Movable public or private seating/tables: None Drinking fountains: Special recasting of historic fixtures Special signage: Custom designed Special signals: Custom designed Enhanced pedestrian paving: Brick sidewalks and intersection crosswalks; granite curb, gutters, and feature strips Transit shelters: Custom-designed pavilion-like shelters (two per block) Windscreen: Custom designed; integral with shelter Transit seating: Custom designed; integral with shelter

Type: Transit/pedestrian-emphasis street Location in city: The Portland Mall sits squarely in the heart of downtown on Fifth and Sixth avenues. The Mall extends north-south over an 18-block length, from Madison Street on the south to Union Station on the north.

north mall

RETAIL CORE 0

1000’

Role in the city: Civic importance: The Portland Mall was conceived as the transit hub for the region and was to be the most civic-designed street in Portland. The Downtown Plan continues to show the Mall as the primary pedestrian/transit spine in the central area.

Context: Fifth and Sixth avenues have traditionally been the heart of the commercial core. Portland’s historic retail, banking, and corporate office headquarters have been on these streets. The Downtown Plan encourages the highest density development along the Mall so that the greatest concentration of people has the best transit service in the region. The Mall has a series of public and private open spaces along its edges that gives an episodic variation in character and activity along its length. The south end of the Mall is not clearly defined as Mall improvements unceremoniously give way to standard treatments south of Main Street.

Pedestrian linkage: The Mall is the primary north-south pedestrian route downtown.

Improvements/renovations: Construction of the Portland Mall was completed in 1976. Street improvements for the east-west light rail line, constructed in 1986, interface with the Mall on Yamhill and Morrison streets. In 1994 an extension of Mall improvements into the River District/Old Town-Chinatown area was constructed, linking the Mall with Portland’s intermodal transportation center at Union Station. No significant modifications or alterations have been made to the Mall since its original construction.

Transit Mall

Special features: Stand-alone public art is located throughout the Mall. Several fountains were designed integrally with the wide 30-foot sidewalks (two lane blocks). Seasonal flowering plants are placed in Mall planters by the City Bureau of Parks and Recreation.

Transit component: The Portland Mall is the regional focus for the bus transit system. Light rail supports this focal point with a cross-Mall alignment on Morrison and Yamhill streets. The Portland Mall carries a higher bus volume than any other transit mall in the country.

Portland, Oregon 42

carefully conceived, generally well executed


through zone

furnishing zone

through zone

furnishing zone

vital statistics Block length

200’

ROW width

80’

Roadway width

36’-0” at three lane blocks 24’-0” at two lane blocks

Sidewalk width

18’-0” and 26’-0” at three lane blocks 30’-0” and 26’-0” at two lane blocks

Transit Mall Portland, Oregon 43


1’-4”

8’-0”

8’-8”

14’-8” autos and buses 36’-0”

sidewalk 18’-0”

10’-0”

1’-4”

10’-0”

1’-4”

sidewalk 26’-0”

80’ 3 lane block

Transit Mall Portland, Oregon 44

1’-4”

8’-0”

20’-8” sidewalk 30’-0”

14’-8” buses 24’-0” 80’

2 lane block

sidewalk 26’-0”


3 lane block

a place that accommodates well but attracts not as well

2 lane block

Transit Mall Portland, Oregon 45


And Therefore . . . The design concept for the Transit Mall reaffirms its original premise: the Mall is and shall remain the infrastructure hub that establishes Downtown as the focus of the region. However, this concept rephrases the purpose of the Mall. The original Mall was a pair of transit oriented streets designed and built to a high quality as the precedent for the downtown public and private redevelopment that would follow. This concept proposes the redevelopment of the Mall as extraordinary streets downtown that would attract and accommodate dense and diverse activities, including an expansion of transit service, without compromise to their function. This represents a subtle but significant shift in the Mall’s intent and character. Three assumptions are fundamental to the Mall concept: 1. The Mall is a unified and monolithic spine that links and complements a series of distinct neighborhoods. These neighborhoods include the University District, the Civic/Cultural and Office Core, the Retail Core, the Financial/Hotel Core, and Old Town-Chinatown. 2. The Mall is composed of three segments: the North Mall, the Central Mall, and the South Mall. Each segment is distinguished by variations in operation and physical design and corresponds with groupings of adjacent districts and neighborhoods. 3. The Mall is designed to respond to the needs and nature of each neighborhood it serves, and to nurture and secure the support and active stewardship of adjacent businesses and property owners.

Transit Mall Portland, Oregon 46


If the six exceptional strees examined are to give the Transit Mall one piece of advice, it would be to engage the adjacent property owners and businesses in securing and maintaining the promise of the Mall. To date, only a few have been invited, or have taken the initiative to make the Mall better. Without their enthusiastic and sensitive stewardship in concert with those already involved, the Mall will not achieve its potential. And a street... with most of the stuff which great streets emerge... will fall short.

Four principles are fundamental to the Mall success: 1. accommodation and balance of the activities of the street 2. proper behavior of those activities 3. collective management of those activities and the stage they occupy 4. a design that enriches and inspires

Conclusions Portland, Oregon 47

Great Streets  

(Portland, OR w/ZGF) This document examines six streets. At their best, all exhibit four common characteristics. 1. Accommodation and bala...