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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

July 23, 2020
Downtown makeover includes improvements invisible and visible — Ottumwa, IA, has embarked on an ambitious program that includes new housing units, an overhaul of its streetscapes, and new attractions. This long-term work was supported by a Better Block initiative. Read the Ottumwa Better Block After-Action Report and watch the video below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG_ogpGJNDQ&feature=youtu.be ...

Urban density doesn’t lead to coronavirus transmission, study says — The consensus was: Urban environments exacerbate the spread of Covid-19. There’s a small problem with that conclusion, however. It might not be true. Read a study from the Journal of the American Planning Association. ...

Regional trail connects to downtowns —  Last year the Metropolitan Planning Commission released a plan update for the 54-mile Bridge to Bay Trail in the Port Huron region of Michigan. See the St. Clair County Trails Plan.  ...

Public art turns chain link into attraction — An area of construction in Eugene’s Downtown Riverfront is surrounded by chainlink fence. The city will reimagine the fence as, “a canvas for temporary public work(s) of art.  Learn more about the project and to see the RFQ. ...

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

July 1, 2020
Downtown offers loans to struggling merchants — As the coronavirus shut down its city center, Memphis, TN, faced a mass extinction of small merchants. The Downtown Memphis Commission responded quickly, handing out short-term loans totaling $260,000 to 46 businesses. See Memphis’ application materials for emergency loans. ...

Eight low-cost ideas downtowns are using to spur their recoveries — The Kendall Whittier Main Street program in Tulsa, OK, wants to support businesses that are struggling with little or no income. To keep businesses viable, grants will be offered to help make rent or mortgage payments. If awarded, the grant will pay rent directly to the landlord. See the Kendall Whittier Rent Relief Program application. ...

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

June 1, 2020
To reopen downtown, consider outdoor dining, “parklets,” and “flex zones” — The recovery from the coronavirus crisis threatens to be arduous and slow-moving. But architects Alan Pullman and Shannon Heffernan, of urban design firm Studio One Eleven in Long Beach, CA, urge cities to use “parklets” and “flex zones” to create spaces for outdoor dining. They also suggest transforming parking lots into al fresco seating areas. The National Association of City Transportation Officials offers guidance on Parklet design. ...

Parklet vs Pedlet — A play on the word “parklet,” a pedlet allows for outdoor dining on the sidewalk while the adjacent parking space is converted to a pedestrian way.  The video below shows modular pedlet installation in Great Falls, MT. https://youtu.be/jOZEUX0-ebY ...

Even after all-clear, downtown foot traffic might not return to normal — As the coronavirus pandemic has dragged on, it has become clear that consumers and merchants will take time to resume old behavior patterns, says Matt Wagner, vice president of revitalization programs at Main Street America. See Main Street America’s local resident survey questions and small business interview questionnaire. ...

Uber, Lyft increase congestion; here’s how one downtown copes — Before the coronavirus shutdowns silenced downtown Orlando, FL, city officials say designating locations for drivers to pick up downtown patrons improved traffic flow during the late-night rush hour, when bars closed and thousands of people tried to leave a small area at once. Read a traffic study commissioned by Uber and Lyft. ...

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

May 1, 2020
How to keep your organization afloat in tough times — Many organizations were blindsided by the suddenness and severity of the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. To help coach downtown leaders through the turmoil, the International Downtown Association (IDA) and Progressive Urban Management Associates (PUMA) collaborated on a game plan that spells out steps to take in the coming weeks and months. See the full list of suggestions for stabilizing and then reviving your downtown. ...

Your downtown tenants are in danger; here’s how to help them — The coronavirus pandemic could permanently close millions of small businesses, including some that occupy storefronts in your downtown, according to a report by Main Street America. ...

In a sad reality for downtown leaders, pedestrian deaths keep rising  — Nationwide pedestrian deaths rose in 2019 to their highest level in three decades, even as the nation’s roadway crash fatalities overall have been falling, according to a report released in late February by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), a nonprofit that represents state highway-safety offices. ...

New park, new uses — A surface parking lot in the West End Historic District of downtown Dallas will soon be replaced with a modern new green space called West End Square. Watch the video below and take a virtual tour.  https://youtu.be/8oWJvbjgHTM ...

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Economic Pause Creates Opportunity for Infrastructure Improvement

April 30, 2020
With their disruptions to traffic flow and parking, construction projects are the bane of downtown leaders. In a rare bright side to the coronavirus pandemic, some downtowns are using the economic pause to accelerate infrastructure improvements. In Pensacola, FL, Gulf Power has accelerated work on an $83 million project to improve the downtown power grid.…Continue reading

 

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Big Landlord Responds to Pandemic with Rent Forgiveness

April 23, 2020
As the coronavirus pandemic closed downtowns across North America, downtown Detroit’s biggest landlord tried something different. Bedrock, a major property owner in the struggling city’s commercial core, told tenants it wouldn’t collect their rent. The most generous rent forgiveness terms go to small businesses, while bigger companies can get smaller breaks. "It is going to…Continue reading

 

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