The first part of the forum was dedicated to identifying challenges and potential assets of corridors in general. Barriers to health were identified as the following:
- Volume and speed of traffic;
- Over-zoned for retail;
- Lack of sidewalks, bike lanes, and access to healthy food;
- Undesirable land uses like liquor stores, used-car lots, and adult entertainment;
- Entrenched and fragmented patterns of landownership;
- Working with state transportation departments, whose metric for success is often moving cars efficiently and quickly;
- Multiple jurisdictions with oversight of the corridor, resulting in fragmented leadership and vision;
- Lack of political or civic leadership on making corridors healthy places; and
- In general, conditions that were described as “dangerous, dirty, disconnected, and dismal”
Participants also shared what they considered corridors’ latent or potential assets and opportunities to become the following:
- Sites for community-building, promoting local culture, gathering, and celebration;
- “Places” instead of merely a pipeline for cars through urban design strategies that emphasize public safety, visual appeal, and connectivity;
- “Complete streets” or streets that accommodate multiple modes of transport – walking, cycling, automobiles, and transit; and
- Connector of residents to economic opportunities either as pathways to employment centers or as magnets for job creation and businesses.
Now that the teams representing the four demonstration corridors have convened and exchanged ideas, the hard work begins on identifying short- and long-term outcomes for each site. Each team is eager to demonstrate to local stakeholders a few “quick wins” and successes. Long-term change, though, will require sustained attention to and financial support of soft and hard infrastructure upgrades to each corridor.
This summer, each demonstration corridor will hold workshops to meet with local stakeholders-elected officials, planners, the local real estate community, and neighborhood groups. The four teams will meet again at a forum at the 2015 ULI Fall Meeting, and will organize study tours of their specific corridor by members of the National Working Group and Rose Alumni during the fall and winter.
Learn more about the Forum from Urban Land Institute.