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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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Global Pandemic Creates Challenges, Disruption for Downtowns

April 9, 2020
Downtowns are positioned to rebound strongly from the coronavirus pandemic. When that rebound might occur, however, is uncertain. That’s according to downtown leaders interviewed by Downtown Idea Exchange newsletter as the global pandemic spread. "Will we come back? Absolutely," says Dewitt Peart, president of the Downtown Austin Alliance in Austin, TX. However, Peart and others struggled to…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

April 1, 2020

Visitors aren’t coming downtown? Send them outdoors — Tourism consultant Roger Brooks has a contrarian alternative for downtowns struggling with a dearth of visitors. Tell them to go camping, canoeing, or hiking instead. Watch Roger Brooks’ webinar, Dealing with the Coronavirus below.

“Support Your Neighbors” and other initiatives aid downtown businesses — When the coronavirus closed downtown Wilmington, NC, for business, Ed Wolverton thought back to the city’s hurricane of 2018. In the aftermath of that disaster, he telegraphed the message that downtown was open for business. See how Wilmington, NC, recovered after Hurricane Florence.

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Part 2: Leading Downtown in Challenging Times

March 26, 2020
Downtown leaders must find ways to help businesses through these tough times. Local governments and downtown organizations may be facing their own economic pressures, so increasing loan and grant money may not be an option. But reduced business fees, free peer counseling, help with advertising, and keeping business owners informed about funding sources can help.…Continue reading

 

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Part 1: Leading Downtown in Challenging Times

March 19, 2020
The impact of Coronavirus will be big, deep, and constantly in the news, but downtown leaders must carry on. Interviews with economic development professionals and others suggest a range of strategies for supporting at-risk businesses, protecting the downtown’s market position, and growing the local economy in the months ahead. In this and future eNewsletters, we…Continue reading

 

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