Blog post by Jay Walljasper on 22 Jul 2013
Jay Walljasper, Better! Cities & Towns

Neighbors in Conover Commons in Redmond, Washington share an open field as their community gathering spot.

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The City of Lancaster, CA, converted a drab, automobile-oriented arterial at the heart of downtown into a lively pedestrian-friendly boulevard that has become a big regional draw and attracted significant economic development in just two years. In a dramatic demonstration of the value of smart streetscape investment at the right location, Lancaster spent $11.5 million for a nine-block makeover of Lancaster Boulevard. Five lanes of traffic, including a center turn lane, were reduced to two lanes, with a wide, tree-shaded, "ramblas," or public space, added in the center of the corridor. Trees and lighting fixtures were installed and on-street parking is provided. Street festivals have been held attracting crowds in the tens of thousands. Nearly $300 million in private investment has ensued, including 47 new businesses and more than 800 housing units built or rehabilitated. The lead urban design consultant was Moule & Polyzoides of Pasadena, CA. Better! Cities & Towns will cover this project in more detail in the January, 2013, issue.

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