Patrick Bannon, Communications Manager
The 2003 Downtown Implementation Plan (DIP) prescribed key transportation and livability projects to support the economic and cultural vision of our city. The past four years have seen the BDA strongly advocate for sufficient funding to move the projects forward given the boom in private investment and surge in downtown residents and workers.
The Council has committed to fund nearly $30 million in downtown priorities as part of its six-year capital budget, supplemental two-percent tax increase and reinvestment of excise tax collected from the Equity Office transaction. Still, citywide, the Council confronts a sizeable funding shortfall for infrastructure, including the bulk of funding for the DIP and any future requirements for redevelopment in the Bel-Red Corridor. The Council is addressing this challenge though ongoing work with staff to identify a viable long-range capital and operating finance strategy.
As a status check, the BDA invited the City's planning, transportation and parks directors to update members on project progress at the September membership meeting. Following is a brief summary of the projects as presented on September 25.
Transportation Director Goran Sparrman described projects in the queue to improve mobility into, out of and within Downtown. The funded project list covers a range of regional and local projects:
Several livability initiatives are in the planning stages, including potential interim improvements for the NE 6th Street Pedestrian Corridor and the Great Streets Project/Public Art Plan. Great Streets is geared to identify standards for the appearance of streets downtown along the major corridors. The effort carries forward the urban design vision identified in the DIP, including unique identities for the various downtown streets. Draft plans are scheduled to go before the Council in November.
Parks Director Patrick Foran highlighted open space priorities from the DIP, such as the Ashwood Park Master Plan, a NE 2nd Street Park Row, Downtown Park completion, and the Meydenbauer Bay Park and Land Use Plan. For Meydenbauer Bay Park, three design alternatives have been introduced to the park's citizen advisory committee. Owen Lang, a principal with design firm Sasaki Associates, presented the draft concepts at the September meeting.
Member involvement in these projects is strongly encouraged as we continue to work with City staff and the Council to fund and implement the DIP. Specifically, the BDA Land Use Forum and Transportation Committees will stay closely engaged with the planning processes and budgeting work. If you are interested in more background on any of the projects or would like to get involved on a committee, contact Leslie Lloyd or Patrick Bannon.